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Looking back eight years ago finds credit unions’ community involvement questioned at a House subcommittee hearing. CUNA and NAFCU argued the need for credit unions to have a CRA-exemption. Lobbyists in Washington questioned whether the no-room-for-negotiations strategy employed by both CUNA and NAFCU would work. “I don’t understand it,” said one lobbyist, who requested anonymity. “If CUNA and NAFCU would come in here and do something like try to craft a CRA-type obligation for credit unions under current law, perhaps with a small credit union exemption, Congress would applaud loud and long. But,” he sighed. “They’re going to get themselves bloodied if they keep summarily dismissing the need for them to be legally required to reinvest in their communities. Many of these congressional members don’t like bullies.” That issue also finds the NCUA Board taking authority over what has been dubbed the “West Coast mega-merger” of Patelco CU, First Technology FCU and Seattle Telco FCU. NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs Bob Loftus concedes, “though it is unusual for the board to usurp regional authority in merger decisions. The agency views the West Coast proposal as having implications beyond the merger itself.” Patelco CU President Ed Callahan did not mask his bitterness over the delay.

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