WASHINGTON -- Staff from the House Financial Services Committee were slated to get educated on credit union-to-mutual savings bank conversions late last week.
The briefing, slated for Friday, May 11 from 2-3:30 p.m., was closed to the public, according to CUNA Senior Legislative Representative Debbie Kwon-Moore.
A letter circulated by Congressman Paul Kanjorski's (D-Pa.) office stated, "As you may know, credit union boards of directors are increasingly looking to convert from credit unions to banks...Many credit union leaders find this trend alarming, and a perversion of the credit union's nonprofit mission to serve its members. Others believe it is the right of credit unions to convert to a bank in order to better serve members."
Confirmed presenters included University of Maryland Professor of Finance Haluk Unal, also a research advisory at the FDIC's Center for Financial Research; GTE Federal Credit Union President/CEO Bucky Sebastian, chairman of the National Center for Member Trust; and conversion consultant Alan Theriault.
CURIA, which was introduced by Kanjorski, includes a provision that would increase the minimum voter participation in conversions to 30%, while currently there is no minimum. The bill would also require a special meeting of the membership prior to balloting.
NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler said the hearing should not be considered a pre-cursor to moving a bill, but that lawmakers often hold background briefings on particular issues of interest.