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New York league president testifies at state hearing
ALBANY, N.Y. (10/28/09)--Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO William J. Mellin testified on behalf of the credit union community at a state Assembly Banks Committee hearing Friday in New York City.
Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO William J. Mellin testifies on behalf of the credit union community at a state Assembly Banks Committee hearing Friday in New York City.
The hearing was called to determine what level of regulatory authority the state should exercise to protect its financial service entities and consumers. Also addressed was the possible enactment of federal legislation that would create a new Consumer Finance Protection Agency. Others testifying included Richard Neiman, superintendent of the state Banking Department and Michael Smith, CEO of the state bankers association. During his testimony, Mellin emphasized the unique and important role New York credit unions play in the financial services marketplace and their ability to help New Yorkers recover from the current economic challenges. He also reminded the committee that credit unions' cooperative, not-for-profit structure and mission of creating financial independence for their members prevented them from contributing to last year's financial crisis. "Credit unions take great pride in truly knowing their members," Mellin said. "As a result, our mortgages are not packaged and overseen by an institution in a far-off state. In fact, many of our institutions hold substantial mortgage portfolios. It is not a coincidence that credit unions have been lauded as the example of what is right with the financial services industry throughout this downturn in the economy," he added. When asked about the future of the dual chartering system, Mellin said "the dual regime of state and federal regulators, as well as charter choice, allows for competition, diversity and innovation--elements that remain critical for our state's consumers and financial institutions." He also referenced President Barack Obama's March 2009 recommendations to Congress (Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation) and encouraged the committee to reaffirm those recommendations. In the report Obama recognized the value of credit unions' dual chartering system and recommended maintaining state supervision, dual chartering and an independent credit union regulator. "While there is no question that enhancing consumer protection is a laudable goal given the economic climate, it must be accomplished in a manner that builds on existing regulatory success without undue regulatory burden for financial institutions," Mellin concluded. After his testimony, he said, "The hearing was an excellent opportunity to again highlight the credit union difference and how we are helping millions of New Yorkers in communities across our great state."


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