Chicago Fed Says No to CU Council, But it Appreciates CU `Views'
CHICAGO - The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has apparently joined other regional Fed banks in turning thumbs down on creating a separate credit union council to advise bank leadership on policy, structure and financial issues. But Michael Moskow, the Chicago Fed president, did say through a spokesman that the regional bank does recognize CUs as "important constituents and is interested in their views." Nonetheless, the Chicago Fed is going along with the New York Fed in maintaining a lack of need for a separate or "distinct" CU council to advise the agency suggesting that "cross-segment" discussions among industry groups - like banks, finance firms and CUs - is more productive. In a May 5 letter sent to all 12 Fed banks, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica, citing a CU Council operating successfully at the Philadelphia Fed where CU executives periodically discuss local conditions, rates, field of membership and the bank-CU clash, urged the banks to form such Councils. Douglas Tillett, the Chicago Fed's vice president of corporate communications, said the bank already has operating several advisory committees for small business, labor and agriculture and community banks, some of which are more active than others depending on the personalities in them. On its Web site, the Chicago Fed lists three main councils - Seventh District Advisory Council composed primarily of business, labor and farm leaders, which meets twice a year; a Community Bank Council; and a "Money Smart Council" which includes housing executives, media spokesmen and representatives from civic organizations. A check of membership lists, however, could find no CU reps on the council rosters. Tillett insisted that CUs have increased their national stature in recent years adding, "look, we get lots of invitations from business groups, but we would have never had Mike Moskow speak at one of your meetings last year if we did not recognize the importance of credit unions and an awareness of the issues." Tillett said Moskow spoke at what he said was a national CUNA meeting in Chicago held in July of 2003. Tillett said also the Chicago Fed "reaches out" to CUs during its annual "Bank Structure and Competition" conference. Its most recent conference was held in May in Chicago at which "we discussed Sarbanes-Oxley and the ways to help out directors" on insider regulations. -firstname.lastname@example.org