ALBANY, N.Y. (1/7/11)--William J. Mellin, Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) president/CEO, has commended New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his goal of creating efficiency and streamlining state government. As part of this goal, Cuomo is looking to consolidate the state’s Banking and Insurance departments and the Consumer Protection Board. While the proposed consolidation poses potential challenges, the association said it believes that if executed properly, it would streamline the state’s oversight of the financial services industry. It also could create a structure that is more responsive to consumers’ needs and legitimate concerns of all financial service providers, Mellin said. “Creating the new department should not be undertaken as consolidation for its own sake, however. The state needs to seize this opportunity to ensure that financial oversight not only becomes more cost effective, but also fosters greater accountability,” he said. “New York’s credit unions feel it’s essential to maintain credit union representation on the governing body of this new department. Just as vital is that any consolidated department includes an office specifically dedicated to credit unions to preserve the unique and vital role they play in communities statewide. Such an office would guarantee appropriate expertise and a clear line of communication for credit unions at the highest level of the new governing structure,” Mellin said. He noted credit unions have traditionally found ways to provide financial opportunity for those who stood little chance of gaining credit elsewhere. Credit union mortgages, car loans and credit cards provide cost-effective alternatives to millions of New Yorkers. Also, the money members invest in their credit unions is reinvested in New York, he said. While there are no quick fixes to address the state’s budget challenges, CUANY said it believes Cuomo’s proposal, which could create greater efficiencies and a stronger regulatory body, is a step in the right direction. CUANY said it looks forward to working with Cuomo and his administration to bring his concept of consolidation to fruition.