ARLINGTON, Va.-Though not much on NAFCU’s list of priorities has changed from last year to this year, the goals remain high and ongoing. Though the #2 priority for 2004 is enhancing the federal charter, according to NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker, that really is the all-encompassing theme that each of the 10 come back to. Specifically under this priority, NAFCU said it wants to continue to seek improvements to the field of membership and chartering manual. Becker commented, “We know we had to attack it on both the legislative and regulatory fronts. I think we’ve made marked strides on the regulatory side.” Particularly, NAFCU is interested in the community charter/select employee group combination. Also as a part of this goal, NAFCU will focus on increasing awareness of credit unions and promoting the value of the federal charter. The priority that made the top of the list was to “vigorously defend the tax-exempt status of all credit unions, regardless of charter type, field of membership or services offered.” This goal, Becker pointed out, is slightly different from last year’s list in that it emphasizes the significant troubles at the state level, particularly involving the tax battles with the bankers. NAFCU also plans to develop a “workable policy” regarding secondary capital while maintaining NAFCU’s goals of preserving credit unions’ mutual, non-profit, cooperative structure. Becker said some credit unions require alternative forms of capital to continue to grow; and that will help them “thrive in the 21st Century.” NAFCU will press on in its legislative efforts to pass bankruptcy reform legislation. The trade organization insists that it include a meaningful Chapter 7 means test, financial education, and a workable reaffirmation process. Also on the legislative front, NAFCU will continue to push for legislation to enhance credit unions’ member business lending opportunities. The group will also continue its efforts to grow NAFCU PAC. Becker said the political action committee had not officially closed the year out yet, but he said they expect to end up in the top 25% of all PACs. NAFCU PAC has increased six-fold over the past two years, according to Becker. The list was rounded out with increasing opportunities for mortgage lending, which credit unions were heavily involved in the last few years; effectively representing NAFCU’s corporate credit union members; spelling out how credit unions serve their communities and underserved areas; and providing tangible benefits to members through products and services and NAFCU Services Corp. preferred partnerships. [email protected]

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