Wright-Patt’s Fecher Touts Efforts to Help the Middle Class
Mortgage modifications, low-cost credit cards, alternatives to payday loans and strong financial literacy counseling are among the ways Ohio’s Wright-Patt CU helps its members improve their financial health, Wright-Patt FCU President/CEO Doug Fecher will tell a Senate panel on Tuesday.
Fecher, who noted that the ratio of household debt to disposable income is almost 120% compared with 80% 10 years ago, said his $2.1 billion suburban Dayton credit union could meet the needs of more people if they had to spend less time complying with regulations.
"Since 2008, we’ve been given more than 160 new rules and regulations from some 27 different federal agencies,’’ he will say, according to testimony obtained by Credit Union Times. “While credit unions would rather hire loan advisors and financial counselors to help consumers improve their financial situation, we’re instead hiring compliance officers to deal with the new rules. The largest banks have armies of attorneys to deal with these regulations – we don’t.’’
Fecher doesn’t address what regulations he’d like to see changed, according to the testimony, which is scheduled for delivery at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection.
Fecher noted that through its alliance with the Miami Valley Fair Housing agency they have helped many people modify mortgages so they can stay in their homes.
He also noted that when the credit union offers credit cards it’s viewed as “a convenient payment mechanism, and not a temptation to run up debt.’’ Because of that, they don’t offer rewards programs that encourage more spending and their interest rates start at 6.25%.
Fecher said his credit union has several financial planning programs, including a project with a local television station, “The Savings Race.’’ This features five families interested in improving their financial health and is modeled after the NBC weight loss program, “The Biggest Loser.”
The hearing, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., is on the topic of “Consumer Protection and Middle Class Wealth Building in an Age of Growing Household Debt.’’