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WASHINGTON-CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica recently wrote the General Accounting Office outlining CUNA’s opinions on key issues anticipated in its study of the credit union system. The letter to Comptroller General David Walker, responding to previous inquiries from GAO, highlights credit union efforts to serve the underserved as well as low-income communities. It also discusses the importance of the private share insurance option for the health of the dual chartering system and outlines factors the GAO should consider regarding community credit unions. GAO staff had raised questions with CUNA about the increasing size of fields of membership among community chartered credit unions. CUNA wrote in its letter that FOMs were not established to limit credit unions’ ability to compete, but instead to be able to make better credit decisions because the credit union staff knows the members and other safety and soundness reasons. Mica emphasized the need for credit unions to maintain a level of flexibility to continue to grow and prosper. “Credit unions need this flexibility to change in order to meet the needs of their members,” he wrote. He also acknowledged that the American Bankers Association was being consulted as part of the study and noted that the study’s objectives were not related to credit union competition with banks. Mica wrote, “The objectives of the study did not include examining credit union competition with commercial banks. Moreover, it is widely known that the ABA has a long history of attacking credit unions, and it is not an exaggeration to state that the ABA’s ultimate goal is to cripple or destroy the credit union movement, as we know it by taxing, regulating and in effect turning credit unions into for-profit commercial banks.With all due respect, we object to the GAO’s decision to seek input on a credit union study from a group with such a strong anti-credit union bias and agenda.” Mica also pointed out that credit unions have never, to his knowledge, been contacted regarding a study of the banking industry. The GAO study is expected to be completed around September. [email protected]

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