January 25, 2019

Berger defends CUs, merger process against banker attacks

B. Dan Berger

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger is defending credit unions, their mission to help members and the NCUA's merger process against an attack by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). ICBA has called for the House Financial Services Committee to review the NCUA's decision to authorize an emergency merger between PenFed Credit Union and Progressive Credit Union.

"We are disappointed that the ICBA has chosen to continue its long history of attacking credit unions at a time when our industry is hard at work trying to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors negatively impacted by the current ongoing federal government shutdown," wrote Berger to House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.

Berger goes on to highlight specific efforts by PenFed and other credit unions to help furloughed federal workers, including "skip payment" options, discounted loan products and direct deposit assistance.

"Credit unions are about helping their members, not trying to limit competition, as appears to be ICBA's motive here," Berger said.

ICBA's attack stems from NCUA's recent emergency merger authorization between PenFed and Progressive. Berger explained that the "NCUA has a mission to oversee the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which, in turn, protects credit union members and ultimately the American taxpayer."

"NCUA has used similar emergency authority to resolve issues with other credit unions and keep them out of conservatorship in the past," Berger added. "So this action was nothing new, and it helped prevent a charge to the NCUSIF and a loss of financial services to Progressive Credit Union's members."

NAFCU will continue to defend the industry against unwarranted attacks.