ARNOLD, Mo. and SYRACUSE, N.Y. (10/20/08)--Two credit union officials at two separate credit unions have written letters to the editor at two newspapers, reaffirming credit union safety and soundness in unsettled economic times. Ken Moser, vice president, Arsenal CU, Arnold, Mo., sent an Oct. 16 letter to the editor of the Arnold-Imperial Leader for overlooking credit unions in an Oct. 9 article in the newspaper titled, “Bankers say branches are safe, secure.” Moser told News Now that he was especially irked by the omission since the credit union purchased an ad that ran in the paper’s same issue. The ad was an open letter from Arsenal President/CEO Linda Allen that assured people in the community that their money was safe with the credit union. “It appears the reporters didn’t intentionally leave us out of the conversation when they put the article together; the paper made amends by publishing my letter and giving credit unions in the area some much-needed recognition,” Moser said. “The paper ran my letter in its entirety; the only thing I noticed that the paper changed was changing ‘members’ to ‘customers.’” In the letter to the editor, Moser said in part: “You overlooked mentioning that credit unions are also not part of the financial mess and are safe and sound … The credit union system is healthy, with credit unions having strong balance sheets and higher capital than banks--11.1% vs. 10%, respectively. “At a time when many lenders have stopped making loans, credit unions are continuing to extend credit to qualified borrowers,” Moser continued. “Year-to-date, credit unions have made over $180 billion in new loans, including nearly $31 million at Arsenal. “People who do business with credit unions can sleep well at night, knowing their money is safe, and that their credit union is always looking out for their best interests,” Moser’s letter concluded. Bill Ryan, CEO, Syracuse (N.Y.) Fire Department Employees FCU, wrote an Oct. 16 letter to the editor of The Post Standard/Herald-Journal, pointing out the safety and soundness benefits of credit unions. “With all the attention focused on the current financial crisis, the media have been quick to report that savings in bank accounts are safe, insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp,” Ryan said. “It's important to assure consumers that credit union accounts are federally guaranteed as well. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund insures members' savings up to at least $100,000, with higher total coverage if the member has a combination of accounts. There is separate insurance coverage of up to $250,000 for IRA accounts,” he added. “Credit unions have been able to steer clear of sub-prime problems because they do not engage in risky lending practices, holding about 70% of their mortgage loans. As not-for-profit, non-market-based financial institutions, credit unions are, for the most part, shielded from the severe ups and downs of the stock market,” Ryan said. “Consumers seeking a safe harbor during today's financial turmoil need look no further than their local credit union,” he concluded.