WASHINGTON (1/26/09)— The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) last week urged key lawmakers to remember credit unions when considering the pressing issues confronting the new administration and Congress. After the Presidential inauguration on Jan. 20—and on the cusp of Senate confirmation hearings--CUNA sent letters to the leadership of the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Those panels are tasked with considering nominees for positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Council of Economic Advisors, among others. In the letter, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica wrote that CUNA endorsed the Obama administration’s choices and acknowledged that each face “unprecedented challenges.” “While the U.S. Treasury is the agency charged with implementing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), these nominees will have an important voice in key decisions regarding the use of TARP funds to mitigate the economic crisis,” wrote Mica. Mica reminded lawmakers that while EESA clearly includes credit unions among the institutions that should be eligible for TARP assistance, there has been no serious consideration at Treasury of credit unions’ needs for TARP relief. In general, Mica assured, credit unions are doing well and working hard to make funds for loans available to individuals and member businesses, to the extent statutory limitations permit. However, there are credit unions that have been seriously hurt by the impact of the problems in their markets. In a related story, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) issued a press release last week that noted she voted against the release of the second $350 billion of the TARP funds. She did so in part, she said, because of the way Treasury has handled the funds so far. “What is clear is that little of the funds went to the small banks and credit unions that actually keep our communities growing,” she said.