BOSTON-Three major, incorrect perceptions of credit unions exist that the community needs to work to reverse, NCUA Board Member Deborah Matz told attendees of NAFCU’s 36th Annual Conference. Matz said that there are three dangerous misperceptions some lawmakers have about credit unions: that large credit unions are just like banks; that credit unions should not be making business loans; and that credit union taxation is only a threat for large, state chartered credit unions. “You and I know these perceptions are outdated and inaccurate, but your competitors are working very diligently-and I might add, very effectively-to convince lawmakers that these perceptions are reality,” she commented. “First of all, no credit union-large or small-is structured like a bank. The member-owned, not-for-profit structure remains a key difference between credit unions and banks,” Matz emphasized, but said structure alone is not enough. She added that credit unions must spread the word about how they save many less informed, underserved people from predatory lenders and grant micro-loans for start-up businesses that banks typically will not make because they are too small. “With all the new members whose lives you touch, you will go a long way toward changing those three perceptions about credit unions,” she said. “You will demonstrate the reality of your credit union’s role in your community.” [email protected]

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