RALEIGH, N.C. – Thad Woodard, president, North Carolina Bankers Association accused credit unions of making it "abundantly clear the message.to Congress, state legislatures, federal and state regulatory agencies, and the public: `The rules don't apply to us.' " In his letter to the editor in the Aug. 20 issue of American Banker, " Make credit unions play by same rules everyone else has followed all along," Woodard took aim at CUNA's Renaissance Commission report to underscore his point that, "Credit unions have turned their backs on their intended mission, and now they seek to broaden their advantage unfairly in the financial services marketplace," he wrote. "Credit unions were established to provide basic financial services to low- and moderate-income individuals who had a common bond of employment.today many large credit unions ignore the loosely enforced common-bond requirement and seek to provide a full range of financial products and services to whomever they wish, while still enjoying exemption from taxation and consumer regulations." Woodard in particular cited the Renaissance report's recommendation for, he stated, the "virtual elimination of any common-bond requirement and the reduction of credit union regulation and supervision." He went on to write that, "Not only do current credit union practices enable them to compete unfairly in the marketplace, but they are clearly inconsistent with the credit union concept.To suggest that credit unions should be granted comprehensive authority to offer all types of financial services to all consumers, while diminishing the marginal regulatory oversight to which they are currently subjected, is an affront to consumers, taxpaying business entities, and strictly regulated banks and savings institutions." "Credit unions are continuing to turn their backs on those whom they were meant to serve, and they are seeking expanded authority to provide financial services and conduct business unrestrained by consumer protection regulations. "The North Carolina Bankers Association urges Congress, the North Carolina General Assembly, and the appropriate state and federal regulators to end the favored tax status of credit unions and to subject them to the same regulatory structure as banks and savings institutions," Woodard concluded.

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