The head of a national Federal Reserve panel devoted to improving bank/credit union dialogue and gathering grassroots economic data voiced support this week for the group’s record in shedding light on charter differences and addressing regulatory barriers.
“I think credit unions and community banks have learned a lot from one another and shared with the Fed staff what’s really happening in Main Street when it comes to Dodd-Frank, for example” observed Howard Boyle, the CEO of an Ohio bank and president of the Fed’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council.
The Fed panel, set up nearly two years ago by Chairman Ben Bernanke and which includes satellite committees at the central bank’s 12 regional offices, has been quietly conducting infrequent, off-the- record regular sessions in which CEOs of banks and CUs can sometimes spar over Fed policy matters.
“The discussions are always candid and sometimes passionate and I do think there is a respect for the individual charters that are represented,” observed Boyle, who also is president/CEO of the $150 million Hometown Bank of Kent.
Boyle said discussions are often wide ranging, covering such areas as consumer and commercial lending trends, investments and rates.
Leadership of the national 12-member CDIAC as well as the regional CDIAC panels have long been dominated by CEOs of the regional/community banks. There are approximately 25 credit union CEOs on the CDIACs with the lone national representative being Michael Kloiber, president/CEO of the $2.7 billion Tinker FCU in Oklahoma City. Leaving the panel late last year was Randy Smith, president/CEO of the $5.1 billion Randolph Brooks FCU in Live Oak, Texas.
Boyle acknowledged that another CEO from a bank, rather than from a credit union, was picked to replace Smith but the balance should be rectified in the next round of appointments or when a vacancy arises.
“Yes, I was a little surprised but I think it will be remedied,” he forecast.
Robert Allen, president/CEO of the $4.4 billion Teachers FCU in Hauppauge, N.Y. and a member of the CDIAC panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said he has found the district Fed meetings – with the most recent in April – useful and productive.
“I like the idea of going around the table and comparing data from each area whether it is my area on Long Island or in agricultural regions in northern New York,” said Allen. And when it comes to discussing lending, Allen agrees that the lack of it in some areas remains an issue but not at his credit union.
“I’m glad to say Long Island with its presence of large credit unions has done well and because of the competition we have made the public very aware of credit unions,” said Allen stressing last year’s Bank Transfer Day has been nicely extended.
William J. Rissel, president/CEO of the $1 billion Fort Knox FCU of Radcliff, Ky., and a CDIAC member of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said much of the meeting focus has been on ways to generate loan volume – commercial, residential and consumer. The discussions center on what are the dynamics driving those forces, he added.