November 19, 2015

Berger pushes back on ABA's FOM distortions

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger shot a letter off to key lawmakers and the NCUA Board last night to counter misinformation spread by the American Bankers Association on a yet-to-be-released proposal on credit union field of membership.

"NAFCU is disappointed that the ABA has chosen to attack this proposal before it is even released and the details are known," Berger wrote. "Despite what the ABA claims, we acknowledge that legislation is necessary to reform aspects of the Federal Credit Union Act's limitations on chartering."

He added that had ABA paid as much attention to its own members during the financial crisis as it's paying to credit unions now, perhaps the nation's big banks "would not have faced over $100 billion in fines, settlements and buy-backs."

Berger, in a letter sent to NCUA Board members and the leaderships of the Senate Banking Committee, House Financial Services Committee, Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, said NAFCU wants Congress to take up legislative reforms for FOM but that the association believes it is possible to give some relief now through the removal of restrictions not created by statute.

"We firmly believe that NCUA can enact constructive regulatory relief under the agency's current authority by streamlining its chartering and FOM procedures, as well as removing all non-statutory constraints on FOM chartering and expansion," Berger wrote. "These actions are within the agency's existing authority and do not require congressional action, despite how much the ABA attempts to misrepresent it."

ABA, writing NCUA and lawmakers Wednesday, both complained about industry efforts to get the agency to ease current FOM rules and said these efforts would flout the law.

The NCUA Board is poised to vote on releasing its FOM proposal during today's open meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. Eastern.