I have been reading with interest the articles containing charges and counter-charges about bankruptcy legislation and whether or not credit unions should be supporting the current version of the bill. State Employees CU, N.C. President Jim Blaine in expressing his position, ascribed no negative motivation on the part of credit union folks who support the bill. However, some of those who criticize his position see fit to question his motivation. While Jim is quite able to defend himself, I can’t help but suggest that he has raised some good points, and we might ought to consider reviewing our position on this issue. Regardless, to suggest anything other than the most positive of motives on his part is taking a cheap shot and uncalled for. Jim Blaine has a long history of doing the right thing as his conscience dictates and I have no doubt that he is doing so in this instance. While I have supported bankruptcy reform even though I don’t like some of the provisions in the bill (continued homestead exemptions for wealthy homeowners in Texas or Florida for example), I am beginning to rethink the issue. In reality, few credit unions are suffering excessive losses due to bankruptcy. Therefore, we could afford to reconsider the issue rather than support legislation which puts us in the same category as those institutions that encourage consumers to take on excessive debt loads at outrageously high interest rates. In virtually every bankruptcy case involving our members we see predatory auto lenders and high rate credit card issuers who create the overload which leads to bankruptcy. One bump in the road (illness, job loss/reduced hours worked, divorce, etc.) which is involved in about half of the cases and our members head to court for relief. Surely, there must be a way to get reform legislation which would satisfy responsible lenders and consumer advocates if the goal is to stop fraud and abuse of bankruptcy laws. If the current legislation doesn’t really do that, then we should not get caught up in the effort to pass a bill simply for the sake of getting something rather than nothing. I fear that CUNA may be in that position because some people in the organization declared victory months ago and will have egg on their faces if nothing is passed. Marshall Boutwell President/CEO Gwinnett FCU Lawrenceville, Ga.

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