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WASHINGTON-Credit union versus banker issues were aired nationwide Dec. 8 in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post when Columnist Al Crenshaw featured NCUA’s field of membership proposal in his column. “Credit unions, which have been growing briskly as bank consolidations have alienated more and more traditional banking customers, may soon be able to expand their reach even further,” Crenshaw wrote. The amendments mean little to laypeople on the surface, but “the practical implication will be better access to credit unions . . . and to the services that credit unions provide,” NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker was quoted as saying. CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard explained in the column that the proposed regulatory relief is in line with the recent trend providing more diversification options, while at the same time creating a safety and soundness cushion. He noted that many single sponsor credit unions would have to shut their doors in the past when their sponsoring business closed down. The other shoe dropped when Crenshaw wrote, “Banks are far from thrilled by all this.” “The reason for credit unions back when they were chartered was to fill a specific niche,” American Bankers Association Public Relations Specialist Charlotte Birch said in the column, which also vented both sides of the taxation issue.

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