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WASHINGTON-Credit union friendly Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Wayne Abernathy may not be so friendly come February. That is because he will be joining the American Bankers Association starting Feb. 1. He will serve in the newly created post of executive director for financial institutions policy and regulatory affairs. This will be a very high-ranking position within the ABA. “Wayne Abernathy, through his more than 20 years of public service, has developed an extraordinary level of knowledge about policy issues affecting financial institutions,” ABA President Don Ogilvie said. “He is greatly respected in Washington and throughout the financial services industry, and all of us at ABA are excited about his joining our team in this leadership role.” At ABA, Abernathy will oversee ABA groups that deal with policy development, regulatory issues, bank general counsels, economics, and tax and accounting. Abernathy has served as assistant secretary since December 2002. “It has been my great honor and privilege to serve you and the people of this nation for a little over two years as a member of your Administration,” Abernathy wrote in his letter of resignation to the president. “I look back with deep satisfaction on the achievements of this Administration, including those with which I have been involved.” Issues that Abernathy took a lead on encompassed subjects of importance to the credit union community, including identity theft, expanding access to financial services, promoting the resilience of financials, and financial education. “The Treasury Department is preparing to say farewell to one of the more dedicated, passionate public servants whom I have had the pleasure to work with. Wayne Abernathy has given generously of his time and his heart for the past two years, serving the Bush Administration extremely well,” Treasury Secretary John Snow stated. While at Treasury, Abernathy was not shy about the department’s support of the credit union tax exemption. He also was interested in credit union capital issues, including secondary capital. “Wayne Abernathy has been a leading supporter for the role of America’s credit unions in extending access to affordable financial services to Americans from all walks of life,” NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson commented. “Whether it is financial education, capital, or other safety and soundness issues, I have valued our productive, solid working relationship. I wish Wayne the very best and commend him on his outstanding public service.” CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard noted, “While Wayne firmly and effectively carried out the administration’s vision for financial institutions, he has always had an open door to credit unions and their comments.” Neither NCUA or CUNA would comment on his move to ABA. “Whether you agree with Wayne or not, he has always listened to the credit unions’ perspective and we greatly appreciate that,” NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker recognized. “Wayne was the first senior Administration official to clearly recognize the value of a risk-based capital system for credit unions. His support was an important component in making this proposal a live issue last Congress. “NAFCU intends to build on that momentum going into the 109th Congress to not only push for a risk-based capital system, but for all the provisions that were contained in the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act.” Becker did take a stab at commenting on Abernathy’s move to the ABA. “While at Treasury,” he said, “Wayne took a leadership role on a number of issues, but one that he worked especially hard on was financial literacy. The importance of promoting financial literacy is shared by both the ABA, where Wayne is going, and NAFCU, so we hope to continue that working relationship on issues where the two groups in fact agree.” Before Treasury, Abernathy was the staff director for the Senate Banking Committee under former Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas). Abernathy earned a B.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins and a Masters in International Studies from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins. [email protected]

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