WASHINGTON – Ralph Nader has jumped on board with the consumer advocates railing against CUNA's support for the bankruptcy reform bill. "It is extremely disappointing to see the Credit Union National Association link hands with long-time enemies of the credit union movement in support of legislation which would destroy consumer bankruptcy protections and turn the nation's bankruptcy courts into a destructive punitive debt collection enterprise," Nader chided. The man who brought down the Ford Pinto stressed that credit unions were only providing cover for financial organizations that "engage in sleazy, unfair, deceptive and, yes, predatory lending practices which have forced many families into foreclosures and bankruptcy." He also accused CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica and American Bankers Association Executive Director Ed Yingling of "parroting one another." He added that a 1999 study by bankruptcy judges demonstrated that the median annual income of a bankruptcy filer was $21,500. "As you are aware," Nader concluded, "there are many who have expressed fears that the credit unions eventually would destroy themselves by becoming `too bank-like.' CUNA's `no hold barred' support of the bank-inspired wipe out of consumer protections in the bankruptcy code, unfortunately, lends credibility to those fears." CUNA responded in kind, stating that the bill is fair, protects those who really need to file, and aims to end abuses under the current laws. The letter pointed out that CUNA is not alone in its stance. "Many members of Congress, or their staffs, on either side of the aisle will tell you the same. Further, as you are well aware, this bill has long enjoyed broad, bi-partisan support," an outline of a draft of CUNA's letter responding to Nader. The organization pointed to the 83 yes votes in the Senate and 306 on the affirmative side in the House. "CUNA absolutely agrees with Nader's observation that the American people look upon credit unions as institutions where people-not profits-are the key. We strongly believe this legislation does no violence to that bond of trust between our people and the nation's credit union community," the summary of CUNA's letter read. -

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