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Cheney addresses CU issues at Reality Check
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (3/1/12)--Membership growth, supplemental capital, member business lending (MBL), and  a growing regulatory burden were topics addressed Tuesday by Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney  during the New Jersey Credit Union League's 2012 Credit Union Reality Check conference in Atlantic City.

Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney updated attendees at New Jersey's 2012 Credit Union Reality Check on legislative and regulatory issues. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League)
Speaking at a networking luncheon, Cheney opened with a positive message about the growth of credit unions during the past year, noting that credit unions saw a net growth of two million members during 2011 (The Daily Exchange Feb. 29).

CUNA is working on several legislative issues that will have a positive impact on credit unions, he said. The recently introduced supplemental capital bill (H.R. 3993), which would allow credit unions to obtain supplemental capital, is a "stake in the ground" and a great start for a conversation about the need for it, Cheney said.  H.R. 3993 was introduced in early February by U.S. Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and has more than eight additional co-sponsors. CUNA is looking for more co-sponsors, Cheney told the attendees.

Member business lending (MBL) is an ongoing issue that CUNA continues to support and push. In a recent poll, 64% of small business owners said that access to capital is an issue for them, Cheney pointed out. Pending legislation to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25% would inject $13 billion into  the economy in the form of small business loans and help create 140,000 jobs at no expense to the taxpayer, Cheney emphasized. Legislators are now grasping the potential positive impact of MBL, he told the group.

Cheney also addressed credit unions' concerns about their growing regulatory burden. CUNA is working with both the National Credit Union Administration and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to get some regulatory relief for credit unions.

The current pressure from NCUA and potential CFPB regulations is "not sustainable" and NCUA needs to take a "balanced approach" in order for credit unions to survive and thrive, he said.

CUNA has met with CFPB numerous times to express credit unions' concern and to tell the good story of credit unions, Cheney said. It is working with the agency specifically on remittance issues and ATM disclosures. Cheney reminded the group that CFPB Director Richard Cordray will speak at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference, held March 18-22 in Washington, D.C.


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