WASHINGTON (11/13/12)--The insights gained from discussions with the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) and the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB), which features two credit union representatives, were noted in a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) release.
The CFPB formed these advisory councils to gather industry input and discuss how the agency can work with financial institutions to improve the financial market for consumers. The groups meet throughout the year.
Member service and education efforts were top items discussed by credit unions during recent meetings of these two advisory groups, the CFPB said. "Credit unions' not-for-profit mission and dedication to financial empowerment and financial education sets credit unions apart as trusted and reliable leaders and partners in local communities," the agency added in a release.
The CFPB said its early October CUAC meeting featured a lively discussion about credit unions' role in leveling the playing field for consumers. CUAC members debated "whether their role as institutions is to provide cash-crunched consumers with viable and more cost-efficient alternatives to high-interest payday loans or to provide education and services designed to help their members become less reliant on short-term small-dollar loans," the CFPB said.
CUAC members during the meeting also expressed great interest in and support for the CFPB's financial education efforts, the agency said. The CFPB noted that member institutions of the CUAC and another group, the Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC), have worked with local schools, community colleges, community organizations and churches to promote greater financial literacy.
The CUAC, CAB and CBAC all expressed concern over growing regulatory burdens, and emphasized that smaller financial institutions like community banks and credit unions can be greatly challenged by the presence of a new regulator, the CFPB said. All of these groups encouraged the CFPB to "make sure that the cost of complying with new regulations is not overly burdensome on small institutions," the agency added.
The CAB is comprised of 25 members with expertise in consumer protection, financial services, community development, fair lending, civil rights, and consumer financial products or services. Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Enterprise Corp. and Hope Community CU, Jackson, Miss., is CAB vice president. Laura Castro de Cortes, vice president of alternative financial services for Centris FCU, Omaha, Neb., is also a CAB member.
The 15 members of the CUAC are:
- Bernard Balsis, IEG FCU, Hawaii;
- Rose Bartolomucci, Towpath CU, Ohio;
- Gary Bell, Cooperative FCU, California;
- John Buckley, Gerber FCU, Michigan;
- Carla Decker, District Government Employees FCU, Washington, D.C.;
- Ron Ehrenreich, Syracuse Cooperative FCU, New York;
- Kevin Foster-Keddie, Washington State Employees CU, Washington;
- Mitchell Klein, Police and Firemen FCU, Pennsylvania;
- Lily Lo, Northeast Community FCU, California;
- Maria Martinez, Border FCU, Texas;
- Marcus Schaefer, Truliant FCU, North Carolina;
- Camille Shillenn, Unified People's CU, Wyoming;
- Helen Godfrey Smith, Shreveport FCU, Louisiana;
- Gregg Stockdale, 1st Valley CU, California; and
- David Wright, Services Center FCU, South Dakota.