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Massachusetts Egan defines credit union CRA stance
WASHINGTON (2/19/08)—Credit unions were not involved the discriminatory lending practices that brought about the Community Reinvestment Act in the 1970s and they already lend to their communities, said Dan Egan, president of the Massachusetts CU League, in a recent article. Countering calls from a Massachusetts banker to apply CRA to credit unions and other lenders, Egan said, “Credit unions are all about community. They’re already lending within their communities.” Anabela Pereira, chief executive of the Pioneer Valley FCU, backing up Egan’s statement, said federally chartered credit unions shouldn’t be covered by CRA because they’re so community-focused by nature. “We’re complying without even complying with the CRA,” said Pereira, of the Springfield-based credit union, in the article. The credit union officials made their remarks in a Feb. 18 Boston Herald piece, “Banker Wants CRA Expanded.” The article reported that Citizens Bank Chairman Lawrence Fish stirred up controversy within Massachusetts financial circles recently by insisting in a Washington Post column that CRA should apply to all credit unions and Internet banks. State-chartered credit unions in Massachusetts already are required to comply with CRA requirements. Fish, as chairman of Citizens Financial Group, also testified Feb. 13 before the House Financial Services Committee at its hearing, “The Community Reinvestment Act: Thirty Years of Accomplishments, but Challenges Remain.” The committee is expected to conduct additional hearing on CRA, focusing on the law's relevancy today and ways in which it could be modified to better reflect the changing financial services environment.


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