Editor/Publisher's Column: Adjusting to the Realities of a New Year
Forget that jobless claims were revised upward, even higher than initial projections. The New Year is a time for optimism. As California CU League Economist Dwight Johnston wrote in his commentary in the Trust for Credit Unions e-newsletter, “This was the fifth year in a row of triple-digit gains on the first trading day of the year.”
While the stock market rallies, the economy does not necessarily follow. In addition to the unemployment numbers, the consumer confidence index is depressed and home-refinance applications, accounting for 82% of total mortgage activity, have declined for three consecutive weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
In an email addressed to the league presidents and other interested parties, President/CEO Bill Cheney stated that CUNA will pursue the introduction of a bill to expand business lending. However, he acknowledged, “Going forward, we have to take some lessons from the failure to raise the MBL cap, understand the realities of the credit union vs. small bank influence in Congress, address those realities and build a system that will allow the passage of important pro-credit union legislation in the future.”
We saw NAFCU turn the corner toward the tax exemption last fall with the study it commissioned and released during its Congressional Caucus that found that eliminating the credit union tax exemption would cost the federal government $15 billion in lost tax revenue, $148 billion in GDP and 1.5 million lost jobs over the next decade. A more unified front would have helped the chances for business lending, but it still appeared a long shot due to the bankers’ opposition and lack of consensus among credit unions.