It was not exactly old home week but the head of Houston’s largest credit union, Michael Brown of JSC FCU, got to mix it up, share lunch and exchange views Tuesday on the Durbin amendment and member business lending with the CEO of a converted CU bank at one of those Federal Reserve meetings.
“Gary Base was actually the only one of those community bankers who I knew since I think he converted his credit union five or six years ago,” declared Brown, president/CEO of the $1.5 billion CU, making reference to Base, who guided the 2005 mutual switch of Plano-based Community CU to Viewpoint Bank.
The occasion for the Brown/Base get-together was the second formal meeting of the 12-member
Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, an informational seminar designed to gather input from bankers and CUs.
Like other Fed CDIAC meetings, many held this month, the sessions are weighted toward banker input on commercial lending trends but have also focused on a broad range of regulatory and legislative concerns including interchange and the payments flow.
Joining Brown and Base on the 12-member Dallas Fed panel was Randy Smith, president/CEO of the $4.2 billion Randolph-Brooks FCU, San Antonio, who, serving a dual industry role, is in Washington tomorrow for a higher-level CDIAC meeting.
Brown said that although Fed discussion surfaced on Bernanke’s Tuesday move to delay interchange implementation until July 21 “as a positive development,” the JSC CEO said he had no information as to whether Bernanke might speak to the bankers and CUs at that Washington conference.
In the meantime, like other CUs across the country JSC is girding for sharp income declines if implementation goes through, said Brown, estimating that the hit at his Houston CU would be “several hundred thousand” in debit fee charges.
Brown said the “dialogue” with bankers was cordial and the economic information extended by the Fed staff, its economists and by brief remarks of Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, was useful “since we found out how much we all have much in common with the same concerns.”
Certainly, the decline in lending at both banks and CUs was a shared theme, said Brown, noting that his CU was just now breaking even “after we saw a 7% dropoff last year.”