More of the credit union CEOs tapped this month for Federal Reserve advisory panels meeting in the coming weeks spoke out Friday about issues they might raise, with debit interchange and tight mortgage conditions leading the list.
Michael L'Ecuyer, president/CEO of the $340 million Bellwether Community CU in Manchester, N.H., said he is eager to discuss "the profound impact the interchange rules will have on credit unions like mine."
Free checking "will disappear along with those rewards programs, and minimum balances will return," forecast L'Ecuyer, who said he and other CU and community bank CEOs will likely make that case before next Tuesday's meeting of the 12-member Community Depository Institution Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
The Manchester CEO said he is "flying back for the day from the GAC" to make sure he attends the debut meeting of the Boston CDIAC. That session is likely to be similar to inaugural conferences of 11 other regional Fed banks which are forming CDIACs in response to a request last year from the Federal Reserve Board to strengthen ties with local financial institutions.
CU leaders have expressed delight that industry views might be conveyed at a higher government level, although another CDIAC appointee, Martin Banecker, president/CEO of the $150 million Campbell Employees FCU of Cherry Hill, N. J. expressed doubts that the interchange issue would gain much traction in the CDIAC forum.
"We've already sent in our letters on that but not sure what the Philly Fed can do," said Banecker, one of two Mid-Atlantic CEOs named to that district CDIAC, which is slated to have its first meeting March 10. Joining Banecker will be Steve Cimo, president/CEO of the $117 million Delaware State Police CU of Georgetown.
Banecker said he was unsure how he got selected for the CDIAC spot except that "they asked me if I wanted to serve and maybe it was because 10 years ago I used to be a member of a Philadelphia Fed credit union council that no longer exists." At one time the Philadelphia Fed acted singularly in reaching out to small banks, thrifts and CUs, said Banecker, noting he expects to discuss "the lack of lending and lack of borrowers."
Apart from interchange, L'Ecuyer in Manchester said he would like some Fed response on "those stringent conditions" placed on mortgages by FHA and federal agencies creating a tight mortgage market. The New Hampshire CEO said he wants to make sure the Fed is "aware of what they've done."