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ATLANTA – Like many state banking groups, the Georgia Bankers Association said it will continue to lobby against expanding business lending powers for credit unions. In March 2004, the GBA joined other states in backing a House of Representatives proposal to re-examine the tax exemption for CUs, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported in a Dec. 31 article. The GBA has also said it will continue to oppose the expansion of CUs’ member business lending authority, as it did in 2004. In October 2004, NCUA approved a final rule that aims to align its MBL rules with SBA’s “less restrictive” collateral requirements. Member business loans previously used collateral requirements according to maximum loan-to-value ratios, which were inconsistent with the collateral requirements of the SBA’s guaranteed loan programs. The amendments exempt SBA-guaranteed loans from the requirement, allowing credit unions to follow the SBA’s “less restrictive” collateral rules. The GBA admits that even though total assets of Georgia’s credit unions are lower than those of commercial banks in the state, some are considerably larger that some community banks, GBA Director of Government Relations Elizabeth Chandler told the publication. Deposits at credit unions here have grown nearly 45% to roughly $10.6 billion from $7.3 billion since 1999, according to the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA). Still, the growth is relatively small compared to banks: metro Atlanta deposits have increased 59% to $80.6 billion, up from $50.5 billion in 1999, the newspaper reported, citing FDIC data. The GCUA, like many leagues, counter that credit unions, unlike commercial banks, are not in the business of “harvesting profits from one group (customers) and delivering them to another (third-party shareholders),” the state league told the publication. According to the GCUA, the five largest credit unions are Delta Employees Credit Union, with nearly $2.6 billion in assets; Atlanta Postal Credit Union, with $1.5 billion; Georgia Telco Credit Union, with $987.7 million; Robins Federal Credit Union, with $853.3 million; and Lockheed Georgia Employees Federal Credit Union, with $768.6 million.

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