WASHINGTON (2/26/09)—Chairman Christopher Dodd of the Senate Banking Committee, noting a scheduled Wednesday afternoon meeting between federal lawmakers and Obama administration officials about restructuring the financial services regulatory scheme, assured credit unions that they have standing in those discussions. “As we modernize the regulatory structure, there will be a seat at that table for America’s credit unions,” Dodd declared to attendees of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Governmental Affairs Conference. He addressed the Wednesday morning general session. Dodd praised the work of credit unions. “You serve all Americans,” the Democrat from Connecticut said, adding that credit unions make sure to provide financial services to low-income and underserved communities. For all that has changed because of the country’s economic upheaval, and for all that will change as policymakers modernized the financial “architecture” of the country, the credit union vision of economic inclusiveness remains unchanged, Dodd said. He added that in ordinary times, the credit union philosophy is important, and it just becomes more so in extraordinary times. Dodd said, “You’ve been successful. You’ve done a good job. You’re strong. You’re vibrant. You’ve been conservative in the management of your financial affairs.” However, the banking panel chairman acknowledged that credit unions, in the current economic upheaval, are “paying an awful price” for a problem created by other, less responsible lenders. “That is why Congress made credit unions eligible for TARP funds,” Dodd said, referring to the 2008 passage of the of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which, in part, established the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). As implemented by Treasury Department to date, credit unions have not been included, and CUNA continues to work for credit union access to the program.