WASHINGTON-Following the release of NCUA’s response to a recent General Accounting Office study on the state of the credit union community and its regulator, the Independent Community Bankers of America issued a statement expressing dissatisfaction with NCUA’s letter. “Once again, the NCUA and the credit union industry seem to be ignoring the mounting evidence that credit unions are losing sight of their statutory mission which is to provide financial services to people of small means,” ICBA President-Elect Cam Fine said. “If tax-exempt credit unions want to be the functional equivalent of banks and compete on expanded product and service lines, they should comply with the same laws and regulations as tax-paying banks, including [the Community Reinvestment Act]. NCUA needs to develop indicators to evaluate credit union progress in reaching the underserved as the GAO report recommended.” NCUA’s letter declined GAO’s recommendation for new data collection on service to low-income households, but said the agency would look into new ways of using existing data to demonstrate credit unions’ service. ICBA also cited the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data that showed credit unions serving a smaller portion of low- and moderate-income households than banks. NCUA, as well as the credit union trades, argued that the data is inaccurate because it excludes thousands of smaller credit unions. In its report, GAO also admitted the HMDA data may not be an accurate measure for credit unions.

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