WASHINGTON (4/8/09)--Credit unions should be included in the Treasury’s capital assistance program for mutual financial institutions, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Monday. A recent letter sent to Geithner by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and nine members of Congress indicates that the Treasury could begin drafting standards for the program. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica urged Geithner to work with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to ensure that credit unions can access the capital assistance. NCUA Chairman Michael Fryzel wrote to Geithner on Jan. 27 asking that federally insured credit unions be given access to Troubled Asset Relief Program funds. CUNA wrote former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Interim Assistant Secretary Neel Kashkari with similar concerns. “Since the sending of these letters, credit unions’ need for access to TARP funds has become crystal clear,” Mica wrote. “Credit unions did not contribute to the subprime crisis. But in those areas of the country where housing prices have suffered major declines, and where unemployment has spiked, otherwise healthy credit unions are suffering an erosion of their capital that reduces their ability to make new loans.” Mica invited Geithner to meet with him to discuss assistance and noted that CUNA continues to talk with NCUA and offices on Capitol Hill about these issues. Mica added that there has been "clear congressional intent that smaller, mutually structured institutions such as not-for-profit credit unions be given access to TARP (or Financial Stability Plan) capital programs on terms comparable to those offered to for-profit banks."