Paul Gentile’s column of Nov. 22, 2006 on defining “modest means” is correct, but not strong enough. NCUA and the various credit union trade associations are spending far too much time and money talking about the creation of credit union legislation in the 1930s. What other type of financial organizations spend time defending their right to exist based on the 1930s? We have allowed the banks to define the debate on what credit unions should or should not do. We should honor our past and stay true to our principles, but we must look forward not backward. The real issue is not service to members of “modest means”. The real issue is the near- and long- term financial viability of the credit unions. NCUA should be focused on improving and rationalizing the regulatory environment and increasing competitiveness of credit unions. If the NCUA wants to spend the resources for an annual study of credit unions, how about an annual report on competitiveness? The focus could be on what the NCUA did to improve credit unions via more flexible or reduced regulations. Patrick M. McPharlin President/CEO Michigan State University FCU East Lansing, Mich.

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