CEOs representing two of Texas’ largest credit unions–and now members of what has become an exclusive “Fed Club” of designated CU leaders–applauded the central bank Thursday for recognizing the industry during a series of Federal Reserve-run grassroots conferences now ending its first month.
“This has been a fascinating experience and one that looks to be useful as we learn more about the banks firsthand and they do the same,” observed Michael Brown, president/CEO of the $1.5 billion JSC FCU of Houston in commenting on deliberations of the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council.
In initial banker encounters so far made under auspices of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Brown said that despite the sporadic bank sniping over the tax exemption that has occurred at some CDIAC gatherings elsewhere in the U.S., the banker conduct at the Dallas Fed sessions has been professional and forthright, and he added, “I really think there are any number of areas where we can find agreement.”
Even his Fed-appointed cohort on the Dallas Fed’s CDIAC panel, Randy Smith, president/CEO of the $4.2 billion Randolph Brooks FCU of San Antonio, agreed, suggesting that the CDIAC meetings provide a forum for CEOs of community banks and CUs to talk about “really important issues like ATM fraud” and debit card interchange.
On that, the CEOs from CUs and the regional banks on the 12-member committee drawn from Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana seem ready to voice their strong complaints to the Fed again next Tuesday at the second meeting of the Dallas Fed CDIAC.
Even though Congressional remedies are under way on Dodd-Frank, the sessions with top Fed managers may further bolster the cause “and bring a needed delay” in implementing the package, said Smith. "Government price fixing does not have a good track record,” charged Smith. “This attempt to fix prices, if implemented as planned, will cost our credit union the equivalent of 235 full-time jobs,” he warned.
Regarding banker contacts at the CDIAC session, Brown of JSC said the information gathered at the initial “get acquainted” Texas session in December on top of a private lunch he had later on with one of the bank CEOs “really can be more useful than what we might get from our respective trade groups.”
Brown said he was unsure why or how he got appointed to the Dallas Fed CDIAC or whether it related to a decision late last year by JSC to switch its item processing business from Southwest Bridge Corporate to the Dallas Fed. That move “we felt was necessary for our credit union after the corporate mess,” said Brown, noting also that JSC had previously relied on the Fed for processing services, later reverting back to the corporates.