July 02, 2014

Fryzel counters banking trade claims in The Hill

July 3, 2014 – NCUA Board Member Michael Fryzel reiterated the purpose and importance of credit unions in an editorial in The Hill, countering an attack lodged last week by a banking trade that called (again) for the end of credit unions' tax exemption.

"For decades, many banks have considered credit unions to be a threat to their survival," Fryzel wrote Wednesday. "Each year, these banks have urged Congress to place greater restrictions on credit unions to lessen the ability of credit unions to compete."

Fryzel looked at the number of federal insured credit unions – 6,491, with assets totaling $1.1 trillion – and compared that with the number of federally insured banks – 6,739, with assets totaling $14.9 trillion. "Does anyone, other than Mr. Keating [CEO at the American Bankers Association], really believe the bankers lose any sleep at night over what credit unions are doing?" he wrote.

Fryzel said credit unions don't deserve criticism for what they do but instead deserve credit. "I always believed credit unions challenged the banking industry to do a better job and that together they could provide our citizens with outstanding financial alternatives," he wrote. "Perhaps rather than criticizing what others do, one's energies are best used in showing you can do better."

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger, in a rebuttal to the bankers' claims that ran June 25, set the record straight on the credit union business model and touted the ways all Americans benefit from the existence of tax-exempt credit unions.