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The purpose of credit unions is to promote the economic well being of all people, including those of modest means, through a Credit Union System which is cooperative, member-owned, volunteer directed, not-for-profit, and therefore tax-exempt; to provide a secure financial alternative for all consumers, and to provide financial and related products and services to members. Credit unions conform to the above principles, and therefore are not subject to income tax and have their own unique regulatory and share insurance system. Credit unions generate wealth and benefits for their members in a number of ways, and those members incur tax obligations as the benefits are distributed in the form of dividends. Credit unions include service to people of modest means in their business activities because of the inherent dedication of not-for-profit, cooperative financial institutions to such service, the traditions and values of credit unions, and the commitment of boards of directors to credit union values. Powers and authorities Credit unions, including corporate credit unions, must be able to engage in business activities necessary to meet the needs of and to provide opportunities to their members. The decision of what specific products and services should be offered must rest with the member/owners of the credit union. Credit unions must be able to accept shares and deposits on the terms defined by the credit unions, to make loans of any type appropriate to their membership, and to place funds in a wide range of investment alternatives to be competitive in the marketplace. Credit unions must have the ability to build additional capital in a way that does not dilute the cooperative ownership and governance structure of credit unions. This additional capital should be subordinated to credit unions’ share insurance funds, so that credit unions have the financial base to offer these services and adjust to fluctuating economic conditions. Field of Membership All consumers have the right to improve their financial well being through the services of not-for-profit financial cooperatives. To that end, credit union boards of directors must have significantly greater flexibility to determine their fields of membership to enhance safety, soundness and service. Regulation and Insurance Regulators should focus only on those activities that are materially unsafe and unsound. In addition, regulators must ensure compliance with applicable laws. A regulatory environment must exist that advances the interests of credit unions by empowering them to provide the range of products and services they determine are important to their memberships. There should be a viable dual chartering system. The NCUA and state supervisory authorities should act cooperatively. Actions taken by the NCUA Board on NCUSIF matters should be separate from those taken on NCUA regulatory and supervisory matters, without creating a separate Board or dividing the agency. In addition, a private insurance alternative should be available to all state chartered credit unions.

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