WASHINGTON (7/8/10)—Responding to a recent American Banker story on poor credit union performance, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said that credit unions are “coping with today's economic challenges and continue to shine.” Saying that credit unions did nothing to create the current financial difficulties, Cheney also noted that while there have been around 40 credit union failures since 2009 began, that number is relatively low when compared to the 225 banks that have failed in that same time period. Even with those difficulties, the credit union system has stabilized itself on its own, without direct government financial bailouts. CUNA is also developing initiatives to help the corporate credit union system evolve and strengthen, Cheney added. The delinquency and net charge off rates at credit unions are also well below those seen at banks, Cheney reported. Credit unions have also been steadily increasing their lending to small businesses, with those portfolios growing at a rate of 9% during the year ended March 2010. However, Cheney said, the American Banker item did make some valid points “about the impact that legislative and regulatory changes to overdraft protection and interchange fees will have on credit union balance sheets.” Credit unions continue to work to resolve the interchange fee issues, and are pushing senators to approve legislation that would increase the cap on credit union member business lending to 27.5% of assets. CUNA is also supporting legislation that would allow credit unions to raise supplemental capital.