Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Just Do Something". (Editor's Column)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Just Do Something". (Editor's Column)

Article excerpt

William W. Streeter

THAT IS AN INCREASINGLY familiar sentiment among bankers regarding credit unions.

Their frustration and anger continues to build over the tax exemption of these direct competitors and the flouting of their so-called common bond.

Since the passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act in 1998, things have only grown worse. The feature article by Executive Editor Steve Cocheo (p. 48) shows that credit unions have moved rapidly into business lending. The absolute totals are still small by comparison to bank commercial lending, but the growth rate is phenomenal. Further, the credit union industry continues to consolidate into fewer and larger institutions. And its "regulator" keeps pressing for additional liberalizations.

All this continues to incense bankers who see more and more business usurped by taxpayer-subsidized competitors.

Anger like that can be a powerful motivator. But it's a dangerous one, somewhat like a keg of gunpowder. Touched off at the wrong moment it can inflict more damage to friend than foe. Further, it dissipates in a moment, with nothing left to follow up.

The tendency when mad is to "just do something-anything." But remember, the last time the industry took on the credit unions in a full frontal assault, it got creamed. There weren't many other options at that time, but since then the ABA has shifted to smaller, flanking movements (to continue the military analogy). Many of these steps have helped slow the onslaught but have not been particularly visible.

Aubrey Patterson, who this month will become the next ABA president, has been part of credit union discussions for much of the last 12 years. …

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