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VANCOUVER, B.C.-NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker told attendees of NAFCU’s 37th Annual Conference & Exhibition that banks should stop whining about credit unions’ advantages and step up to the plate, but, at the same time, credit unions need to toot their own horns more. Banks constantly complain that credit unions do not carry the same regulatory burden as banks. “Do they exist in a world of their own?” Becker asked. He admitted that the bankers may have a point with the Community Reinvestment Act, but there is good reason for that. “Far too many banks were redlining, a practice that is repugnant to all of you,” Becker explained. He also noted the banks’ disdain for credit union getting involved in Small Business Administration-backed lending. However, SBA decided to partner with credit unions to reach more communities and a more diverse pool of borrowers. Becker stated that banks do not want business loans under $500,000, and large banks are not interested in those under $2 million. Additionally, 45% of credit union business loans are made to households with incomes under $50,000. “These are services credit union members want, need, and have asked their credit unions to provide,” Becker said. NAFCU’s leader pointed out that the banks constantly accuse credit union regulators of being “cheerleaders” for the industry, while positive banking regulation is called “pro-competition.” Becker asked, “This sounds a little duplicitous to me. Does it to you? That’s because it is.” If being a credit union is so easy, Becker offered to set the bankers up with credit union charter applications so they could hold democratic elections for their volunteer boards, raise capital strictly through retained earnings, and lower their CEOs salaries and eliminate their stock options. Banks are also consistent in their cry that the credit unions’ advantages are allowing them to gobble up the banks’ share of the financial services market. “The total assets of the credit union community is $620 billion. In just nine years, the banks earn that,” Becker argued. He pointed out that two individual banks each are larger than the entire credit union community. Small banks are in the top one-third of growing companies, he added and suggested that the bankers’ time would be better spent focusing on safety and soundness and services. Credit unions have added 65 million new members through Access Across America, which the banks have said they are doing just for show. “You add underserved areas to your fields of membership to service communities neglected by the banking community,” Becker told his audience. So credit unions need to let the world know of the services they provide. “We need to toot our owns horns. We need to talk about the good things credit unions do. We need to talk about the good things credit unions as a whole do,” he said. Explain how credit unions serve the underserved areas and why they choose to service them, Becker stated. [email protected]

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