Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

New Name, Same Bad Bill; Stopped, Then Changed

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

New Name, Same Bad Bill; Stopped, Then Changed

Article excerpt

CREDIT UNION COMPETITION IS A vital issue for bankers. It angers us and frustrates us. But it also energizes us. So, when ABA asked us to stop a credit union expansion bill in Congress earlier this year, we mobilized our forces and we won.

Over the past four years, we've been able to stop the credit union industry from passing the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA). That bill would expand credit unions' ability to offer multi-million dollar taxsubsidized commercial loans, weaken their capital requirements, and lead to more rapid growth of their industry.

Given our success against CURIA over the years, the credit union industry tried to pass a different bill that they claimed was free of controversial changes in the law. That bill was the Credit Union Regulatory Relief Act (CURRA).

ABA negotiated for two months on CURRA to make the bill truly non-controversial, but the credit unions would not compromise on their mission of expanding their activities. In April, they decided to seek a vote in the House.

The new bill would have allowed credit unions to expand their geographic reach, their commercial lending authority, and their product offerings. The commercial lending cap that applies to credit unions in more than 600 cities would be lifted. And credit unions could offer consumer loans and perhaps credit cards to non-members.

Maybe the credit unions thought that if they took the word "Improvements" out of the bill they really want, we might let it slip by.

Think again.

Working with a very short timeframe, ABA asked our members to tell their representatives that we vigorously oppose CURRA. And you did. Bankers, state bankers associations, bank board members, and employees responded with an intense barrage of calls, faxes, and e-mails. …

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