ARLINGTON, Va. — When it comes to clout for the credit unionindustry in Washington, two voices are definitely better than one,NAFCU President Fred Becker said last week.
He said two trade associations enable credit unions to be aneffective counterbalance to the banking industry, which has twomain trade groups, the American Bankers Association and theIndependent Community Bankers of America.
“There are enough credit unions for two groups,” he said during adinner speech to the Metropolitan Area Credit Union ManagementAssociation. “There is a long history in this country of diverseopinions. There is no one voice in lots of areas.”
Becker, who answered questions from Credit Union TimesEditor-in-Chief Sarah Snell Cooke, noted that NAFCU had taken thelead in persuading Congress to increase the lending capability ofthe Central Liquidity Facility. But he also noted that the twoassociations have worked together to ensure parity for creditunions in the Troubled Assets Relief Program and their recent jointstatement on the need for supplemental capital.
Earlier this year, several executives of credit unions that eachhave several billion dollars in assets issued a white paper callingfor the consideration of a merger between CUNA and NAFCU, sayingthat it would save money and raise the industry's profile. NAFCUhas rejected the idea while CUNA is open to it.
Becker also noted that although credit unions were being hurt bythe current recession, banks were being more adversely affected. Hesaid the number of banks is getting smaller at a faster pace thancredit unions are declining.
He pointed out that in recent years credit unions have become morevisible and this is a mixed blessing, and the mainstream pressdoesn't always understand the nuances of credit unions.
“Credit unions have come of age. The good news is credit unions aremore visible. The bad news is credit unions are more visible,” hesaid.
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CUs Can Apply to BSA Advisory Panel

WASHINGTON — Credit unions can apply for the one spot allocatedto the industry on the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group.
The panel, which provides input to the Financial Crimes EnforcementNetwork on the implementation of the act, is made up ofrepresentatives of banks, credit unions, the credit card industryand other financial services providers.
Applications, due Jan. 8, 2009, must include: the name of theorganization requesting membership, point of contact, title,address, e-mail address and phone number. They must also containthe vacancy for which the organization is applying, a descriptionof the financial institution or trade group and its involvementwith the BSA, and an explanation of the reasons why theorganization's participation will help the group.
Applications must be mailed to: Regulatory Policy and ProgramsDivision, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, P.O. Box 39,Vienna, VA 22183 or e-mailed to: [email protected].
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