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Alabama CUs league meet with Rep. Bachus during recess
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (11/12/09)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Alabama credit union officials from the 6th Congressional District met Tuesday with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), ranking minority member of the House Financial Services Committee, to discuss overdraft protection legislation under consideration by the committee.
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) ranking minority member of the House Financial Services Committee, reviews hundreds of letters from credit union members in favor of overdraft protection. A group of Alabama credit unions met with him to discuss overdraft protection legislation. From left are Bachus; Linda Cencula, CEO, Alabama Telco CU, Birmingham; and Steve Swofford, CEO, Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa. (Photo provided by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
Legislation removing the overdraft protection services option is not the consumer-friendly proposal that its proponents claim, the group told Bachus. Many members rely on the service to help bridge the financial gap at the end of the month or pay period, said Joe McGee, CEO, Legacy FCU, Birmingham. Linda Cencula, CEO, Alabama Telco CU, Birmingham, said members use overdraft protection plans to avoid insufficient fund fees and the "domino effect that results in a declined check." Steve Swofford, CEO, Alabama CU, Tuscaloosa, presented hundreds of letters signed by members in favor of overdraft protection. "Either they use the service and do not want to lose that option, or they do not use it but fear that if this legislation passes, all financial institutions will no longer be able to offer free checking accounts due to the revenue shortfalls created by this bill," he said. Also in the group was Bill Connor, executive vice president/chief financial officer, America's First CU, Birmingham. "Having leaders from credit unions taking the time to meet with elected officials to explain the practical effects and consequences of legislative action is absolutely necessary to maintaining the environment in which credit unions can serve their members' needs," said league President/CEO Patrick La Pine. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) recently testified on Capitol Hill in favor of credit unions' ability to offer members overdraft protection services. CUNA supports the programs as a way credit unions can serve members' financial needs and to help them resolve short-term financial problems. CUNA promotes "best practices" standards to distinguish credit union overdraft services from many bank programs that have been marketed to boost fee income without regard for the best interests of consumers.

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