Magazine article American Banker

Credit Union Regulator Wins Bitter Victory

Magazine article American Banker

Credit Union Regulator Wins Bitter Victory

Article excerpt

Banks don't like him. Credit unions don't like him. And the White House this summer nominated someone else to replace him on the National Credit Union Administration board.

Yet far from just clinging to his chairmanship, Norman E. D'Amours declared victory Thursday in his three-year fight for a requirement that some credit unions spell out -- and fulfill -- plans for serving the low-income segments of their communities.

The win was not entirely his own. Fellow board member Yolanda T. Wheat offered the watered-down rule the board approved in a 2-1 vote. Mr. D'Amours contended in an interview afterward that it is similar to one of his earlier proposals.

Credit unions oppose such requirements of any type, but Mr. D'Amours said that without one, credit unions' tax-exempt status is at risk.

"If credit unions don't do this, I think inevitably Congress is going to look and say, 'Why should you remain tax exempt?' And once they lose their tax exemption they are going to become even more competitive than they are becoming today," losing their service ethic.

"The whole movement will disappear," Mr. D'Amours said. "That would be a terrible loss, because credit unions were created specifically to empower low-income people. It doesn't mean they have to serve only low-income people."

Mr. D'Amours has made many enemies, and his future on the board is doubtful. Credit union trade associations and others "have been working for over a year to get me out of here," Mr. D'Amours said.

His term expired more than a year ago, and President Clinton has nominated consultant Geoff Bacino to succeed him. …

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