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CUs in media on interchange small biz lending economy
WASHINGTON (12/28/09)--Credit unions and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) were in the media limelight last week on several issues, including interchanges, business lending, the economy and the backlash against bankers. They were featured in the Boston Globe (Dec. 23), PBS "Nightly Business Report" (Dec. 22), Reuters (Dec. 23), CNBC.com (Dec. 22); Marketplace (Dec. 22), and Denver Daily News (Dec. 23). In a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe, CUNA Board member Robert Cashman, CEO of $764 million asset Metro CU in Chelsea, Mass., discussed the interchange issue and noted the "myriad benefits that merchants receive by accepting credit cards." He urged members of Congress to oppose legislation that would lower interchange fees. "Artificially lowering interchange fees could force credit unions like mine to either raise fees for our members, or possibly stop offering credit cards," Cashman wrote. "All we ask is for merchants to pay their fair share in a system that brings them clear benefits." Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Community CU, Jackson, Miss., discussed with PBS "Nightly Business Report" his attendance at a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and his economic team and community financial institutions. Bynum explained the concerns smaller financial institutions have about regulators in the financial crisis, noting that regulators "really tightened their examinations quite a bit." "It's quite a balancing act to make sure that we are operating within the bounds that the regulators look for, but also serving our members in the communities that we serve," he added. He said the president wants to hear from community financial institutions such as community credit unions about the challenges they are facing so he can communicate those to the regulators. In Reuters, an analysis by Mike Schenk, CUNA's senior economist, was the lead interview discussing the drop in demand for U.S. home loans. See related article in News Now's Market section, "Rising home sales hopeful sign, Schenk tells Reuters. Schenk also was quoted last week on CNBC.com, discussing consumers' dissatisfaction with banks and how to join a credit union. In the article, Schenk explained that credit unions weren't as tangled up in the subprime mess, "so while the big banks are hunkering down and licking their wounds, we're in much better shape to make consumer loans, and are continuing to do so as we watch our market share grow in every market we serve." In "Bank's failure gets personal," in Public Radio's "Marketplace," senior editor Paddy Hirsch discusses his experience after his small bank, First Federal Bank of California, failed two weeks ago. His conclusion: "I'm going to have to do some pretty careful shopping around in the new year. And frankly, I'm seriously considering a credit union." And, the national press coverage of a bill introduced last week in the Senate that would extend the member business lending cap continued, with an article in the Denver Daily News. To access the articles, use the links.
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