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CU System
Change is the keyword for tough times Mica tells CUs
NEW YORK (7/1/08)—With the economy presenting tough times for financial institutions, “change is the keyword” and fighting for the status quo won’t be enough, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica told the America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo, which opened Monday in New York City. Speaking before 1,600 attendees, Mica cautioned that credit unions “have been a movement for 74 years. It worked then, but if we don’t change, we lose,” Mica said.
Click to view larger image CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica told America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo attendees that although credit unions didn’t cause the economic crisis, they could become a secondary casualty. (Photo provided by CUNA)
“The subprime crisis is taking a bigger toll than we knew a month ago. In January, financial institutions foreclosed 20,000 homes a week. Last month, they foreclosed on 50,000 homes a week. We’re not sure where it’s taking us. “Doing what’s right doesn’t mean circling the wagons and refusing loans,” Mica said. “We are the certified white hats. Everyone else is stained now.” Credit unions can offer training and education, make appropriate loans and, if the loans aren’t appropriate, use compassion. “We didn’t make these (subprime) loans.” However, “credit unions will be hit as a secondary casualty, he said. “We should not cheer for banks’ demise even though they are our archrivals and give credit unions fits. If banks truly implode, it will affect everyone in this room,” he added. Mica noted changes coming in Congress and the White House. “Some of that change is coming today, when Michael Fryzel is sworn in as the new chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)” and with NCUA Board member Rodney Hood’s term expiring soon. Credit unions can expect Democrats to gain 20-30 seats in Congress, going from a majority to a “working majority”--which means less negotiation and more power. A tight presidential race means “Your vote will make a difference.” “We can ride this change all the way,” he said. America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo, which is presented by CUNA, ends Wednesday. For more on the conference, use the link to Credit Union Magazine’s ACUC Daily.


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