LAS VEGAS-The Credit Union Economics Group will be making its second presentation before NAFCU's Annual Conference this year, but the group has had audiences outside the credit union community. The group, a brainchild of NAFCU Chief Economist Tun Wai, formed in the fall of 2002 and that spring met with Federal Reserve Board Governor Mark Olson. Subsequently the group met with the San Francisco and Richmond Federal Reserve Banks. In April 2006, Wai said CUEG is hoping to meet with another Federal Reserve Bank. CUEG has also been invited to make a presentation at WesCorp's Credit Union Outlook 2006 in September in Las Vegas. At this year's Annual Conference, Wai said the group is planning a three-part presentation, beginning with his own presentation on whether there is a housing bubble. CUEG members WesCorp Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Bob Burrell and CUNA Mutual Assistant Vice President and Corporate Economist Dave Colby will consider whether credit unions are heading toward a liquidity crunch. Finally, pros and cons of indirect lending will be debated by Sunmark Federal Credit Union President and CEO Bruce Beaudette, whose credit union is engaged in indirect lending, and Macomb Schools and Government Credit Union Chief Financial Officer Steve Brewer, whose credit union is exploring the option. CUEG does much more than make presentations at large conferences. The group also strives to aid credit unions in their decision making throughout the year. "I know a lot of credit unions have a need for forecasting and economics and not many can afford a consultant," Wai said about forming the group. CUEG provides forecasting on a quarterly basis free to anyone. The group also compiles a biannual regional report for the Fed and credit unions. "We want to influence major policy people throughout the country and the Federal Reserve is one of the major ones. It's important for people to understand what credit unions are and how they are unique." Wai commented. He noted, too, that the group is an interesting mix of representatives from state and federal charters, corporates, and credit union-related businesses at various levels-"not all stodgy economists" as Wai put it. -


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