Magazine article American Banker

Bowing to Affiliates, CUNA Now Opposed to D'Amato Plan

Magazine article American Banker

Bowing to Affiliates, CUNA Now Opposed to D'Amato Plan

Article excerpt

Reversing its position on a controversial issue, the Credit Union National Association now opposes a Senate bill that would increase federal authority over state-chartered institutions.

The industry's largest trade group decided last Monday to abandon a May 19 commitment to support the legislation. The affiliated state leagues said the proposed Credit Union Reform and Enhancement Act would kill the dual- chartering system.

For a while, CUNA leaders argued that supporting the bill was the best option, because the association could tinker with it and avoid angering the bill's powerful sponsor, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y.

An Aug. 2 statement by CUNA president Ralph S. Swoboda revealed that this argument had exhausted itself.

"CUNA, as the only trade group representing state and federally chartered credit unions, cannot support legislation that would turn credit union decision-making over to NCUA, and so must oppose the bill," Mr. Swoboda said.

Industry lobbyists said the reversal ruined the industry's white-hat credibility on Capitol Hill. Angered Banking Committee aides, who feel betrayed by CUNA, have vowed that no industry-specific language will appear in any regulatory relief bill, industry sources said.

In an Aug. 1 statement, Sen. D'Amato, R-N.Y., reminded CUNA of its commitment.

"The most recent communication the committee has received from CUNA expresses support" for the legislation," he said. "We have been working productively with CUNA, other trade associations, and the regulators to address the serious problems in the credit union industry and to protect the taxpayer-backed insurance fund from losses caused by speculative activities. …

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