Monday, August 18, 2008

CUNA urges party platform recognition for CUs

WASHINGTON (8/15/08)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is urging both Democratic and Republican parties to include credit union priorities in their party platform documents. CUNA also called attention to credit unions' close work with Homes for Our Troops to build a home for a disabled veteran in each of the two major party convention cities.

"We are proud to make a lasting contribution to the host cities and these American heroes in this historic election year.

"It is representative of the effort credit unions make to serve their members every day," wrote CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica in separate letters to the Republican Party Platform Committee and the Democratic Party Platform Committee, as those bodies worked to hammer out their final party platforms.

The CUNA letter underscored the safety and soundness of the credit union movement and underscored that credit unions are well capitalized with an overall capital-to-asset ratio of 11.1%. About 70% of credit union home mortgage loans are held on credit union books, not sold off to the secondary mortgage market.

"Credit unions have emerged largely unscathed from the subprime mortgage lending crisis because, unlike many banks, credit unions practice sound lending practices and were not tempted into making risky loans with the promise of big profits in return...Therefore, the plague of nonperforming home loans is a bank problem, not a credit union problem," Mica pointed out to the platform builders.

The CUNA letters also urged the parties' to support the credit union tax status, an independent federal regulator for credit unions, and statutory changes needed to improve credit union service to members.

"Credit unions remain trusted institutions, owned and controlled by their members." Mica wrote, adding, "As you complete your work on the party's platform, we ask that you consider including a statement recognizing the positive and vital role of credit unions in the lives of their members and financial services industry as a whole."

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