At a time when it’s not fashionable to praise Washington, Ed Danek thinks he’s seen government at its best.
Danek, president/CEO of the $80 million Hartford Federal Credit Union in Hartford, Conn., recently attended his initial meeting as a member of the First District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council.
The council, which serves the Federal Reserve’s Boston District, is one of the councils established in each Fed district. The 12-member group already included three other credit union representatives: James Blake, president/CEO of Harbor One Credit Union in Brockton, Mass.; John J. Dwyer Jr., president/CEO of New England Federal Credit Union in Williston, Vt.; and Michael L’Ecuyer, president CEO of Bellwether Community Credit Union in Manchester, N.H.
Danek said he had no reservations about accepting a nomination to the group, which was submitted by Tony Emerson, president/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut. "To me, the whole concept is terrific," Danek said. "The primary function of the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, known as the CDIAC, is to provide input to the Federal Reserve Board about issues such as the economy and lending conditions. We’re reporting what we’re actually seeing on the ground in the community.
"It’s also an opportunity to get feedback from the Federal Reserve on the economy."
At his first meeting, Danek said, council members talked about subjects such as current banking environment and interest rates, economic conditions, inflation, the labor market, consumer confidence, regulatory issues and examination processes.
High on Danek’s agenda as a council member is the regulatory burden being placed on financial institutions. He’s concerned the cumulative impact will accelerate the consolidation process, especially at smaller institutions. He believes that message resonated during the meeting.
He said he’s also worried about the effect of the Affordable Health Care Act on costs, especially starting in 2014, and about a proposal in Connecticut that would reduce hospital revenues $500 million over the next two years. Danek sees that leading to significant layoffs that would hinder the state’s economic recovery.
"The meetings are very efficiently run," Danek said. "We covered a lot of topics in three hours."
Danek noted every council has a chairman designated to go to Washington twice a year and report on the dialogue from institutions in each Fed district. While not every council member agreed on each issue, overall there seemed to be widespread accord on many of the concerns raised.
"It was a terrific experience," Danek said. "It was informative, it was interesting, and it was a wonderful exchange of ideas. I thought the Federal Reserve was very interested in what the council had to say. This was government at its best."