WASHINGTON – CUNA and NAFCU said it’s pretty sad that the American Bankers Association likened the NCUA to an ante-bellum slaveholder and credit unions, with their members, to African American slaves in its recent comment on a proposed charter change regulation. In its October 1 comment decrying the agency’s proposal to mandate certain disclosures and procedures on credit unions seeking to change their charters to those of mutual banks, the ABA attacked the proposed rules on the grounds they violate basic ideas of freedom. “Instead, the NCUA has chosen to fight mightily against the most American of freedoms – the freedom to exercise free will and choice,” the ABA wrote. “We are reminded of the African American spiritual, “Go Down, Moses,” and wonder when the NCUA will allow its regulated population the freedom to make their own individual business decisions consistent with marketplace needs, rather than create even more regulatory roadblocks to the exercise of business discretion and choice.” In a footnote, the association drove the point home further, citing verses one and four of the song, with their words of “tell old Pharaoh, let my people go” that it thought would apply. “This is just another sad example of how the banker venom has clouded not only their judgment, but also their sense of decency,” said John McKechnie, CUNA senior vice president of governmental affairs. “One wonders what’s going to be their next unfortunate eruption.” “The ABA shows remarkably poor taste in its comments to NCUA by equating a proposed regulation on enhanced disclosures when a credit union converts to a mutual savings bank to the plight of the Israelites enslaved in Egypt, as captured in a well-known spiritual `Go Down Moses,’ ” said Fred Becker, CEO of NAFCU. “ Still, while the time of the Pharaoh is several millennium past, slavery is only several American generations past and referencing it in this way not only shows zero comprehension of that fact but it trivializes the issue of slavery and its horrific impact on our society,” he added.
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