To Survive, Credit Unions Need More Flexibility

December 18, 2012 at 7:55 am Leave a comment

imagesCA9YEVRIYesterday, the NCUA announced that it was closing down two credit unions, including Olean Tile Employees Federal Credit Union in Olean, NY and G.I.C. Federal Credit Union in Euclid, Ohio.  Both credit unions started in 1936 with the help of a healthy manufacturing employer to act as their sponsor.  With the demise of the sponsor, the credit unions died as well.  We hear these stories with such frequency that I think as an industry we have become numbed to them but, in fact, they reflect the single biggest trend taking place in the industry that we can do something about.

It’s time to get both state and federal legislators to update our enabling statutes and give all credit unions the flexibility they need to cater to an increasingly flexible economy.  The growth of credit unions reflects the growth of the American working class and unfortunately as the jobs that created that working class disappear, our industry has to change as well.  If we were creating an industry today we would not willingly tie our fate to enabling statutes that tie our growth to select employee groups or associations.  We would push for an expansive view of community as technology expands the size of a given area that any financial institution can serve.  Remember, not only are manufacturing jobs going away, but your average employee is now going to have several jobs in his or her career.  It’s getting harder and harder to classify employees as a distinct group of individuals.

CUNA has already worked with state-level lobbyist to update its Model Credit Union Act and it provides a ready piece of legislation to at least begin the discussion.  In fact, some associations have already successfully advocated for greater by-law flexibility so that their members can craft a membership base that reflects the unique conditions where they live and work.  For instance, it may make sense for a SEG-based credit union to become a community-based credit union that continues a commitment to a specific type of employee group that may be outside of the community.  Credit unions would still have to demonstrate that there is a need for their services.  They simply wouldn’t have to provide those services within an antiquated regulatory straight jacket.

NCUA Releases Share Insurance Fund Projections

In a letter to credit unions released late yesterday evening, NCUA projected assessments for the stabilization fund and the premiums for the insurance fund for 2013.  The combined total means that credit unions face an aggregate payment into the system of approximately 8-16 basis points.

Entry filed under: Advocacy, Compliance, Regulatory. Tags: , , , .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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