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WASHINGTON-NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker told banks that “Credit Unions Are Not the Enemy” in an opinion piece by that name that appeared in the Oct. 29 edition of American Banker. He pointed out, as recent remarks from former Comptroller of the Currency John Hawke to the American Bankers Association indicated, that banks and credit unions have more in common, like regulatory relief, than one might be made to believe. Becker agreed, quoting Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Dawson stating, “Never before in the history of financial regulation have so many new regulatory burdens been imposed on such an array of financial institutions in so short a period of time.” However, NAFCU’s chief continued, “It is unfortunate that some within the banking community, in jockeying for who can slam credit unions the most whether in the press, on the Hill, or in state legislatures have taken their eyes off the ball. Why not spend these vital industry resources by joining together toward much more attainable and worthwhile goals?” In fact, Becker said other financial competitors like insurers, mutual fund companies, investment brokers, and finance companies; the state of the economy; and interest rate movements are “a much bigger threat to banks than credit unions.” He wrote, “I only hope that enough banks and thrifts begin to see that credit unions really are not their chief problem, and that they will begin, as Mr. Hawke suggests, to help change the direction of those attacking credit unions.” Becker’s opinion concluded, “I am optimistic that the financial services community can construct a “win-win” by joining together to address safety-and-soundness concerns and the potential for serving even more consumers. A good first step is to support and move forward a regulatory relief bill in the next Congress, thereby benefiting credit union members and bank customers alike. “By doing so, we just might enhance the availability of financial services to every American.” – [email protected]

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