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N.J. league staves off bankers in publishing battle
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (5/17/11)--The New Jersey Credit Union League has once again set the record straight in response to two letters to separate editors from the New Jersey Bankers Association. In letters to the Courier News (May 6), the Home News Tribune (May 9), and The Times of Trenton (May 13) New Jersey banks claimed that credit unions have “overstepped their mission” and should pay taxes because they “act like banks.” New Jersey Credit Union League President Paul Gentile responded with letters of his own explaining how credit unions:
* Are financial cooperatives with volunteer boards of directors; * Fulfill the basis of their tax exemption with better rates and lower fees than banks; * Have not cost taxpayers any money, unlike banks using Troubled Asset Relief Program funds during the financial crisis; and * Saw lending increase by 7.6% from December 2007 to September 2010 while it decreased by 6.5% at banks.
Gentile also noted credit union efforts to extend the business lending cap will help the U.S. economy and New Jersey credit union efforts to pursue legislation allowing them to accept municipal deposits--currently a monopoly held by state banks. “It’s important to respond to these baseless claims by bankers about credit unions expanding beyond their mission,” Gentile told News Now. “These claims about ‘mission” have been mispresented by bankers for years. We exist to serve our members with the best loan and saving products.” Gentile’s letters appeared in the May 16 editions of the Courier News and the Home News Tribune. Another letter was scheduled to appear in the Trenton Times today. This is the second round of attack on credit unions from New Jersey bankers in the last two months A March 6 article in the Bergen Record, titled "Credit union cutbacks," hinted that credit unions are slipping in satisfaction and some are starting to charge fees. Gentile defended credit unions' safety and soundness and reiterated customer/member satisfaction reports showing consumers are confident in doing business with credit unions in a letter that appeared in the the Bergen Record March 31. An editorial later in March by New Jersey Bankers President John McWeeney to njbiz.com claimed banks and credit unions don’t compete on equal footing. Gentile volleyed back with a letter to the editor published April 4 noting credit union structural differences, the lower rates they offer consumers, and their positive effect on the economy. New Jersey Credit Union League President Paul Gentile wrote an editorial in the April 4 edition of njbiz.com in response to an editorial by New Jersey Bankers President John McWeeney.


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