Keating Op-Ed Challenges CUs’ Business Lending Push

ABA President and CEO Frank Keating kept up the pressure on the National Credit Union Administration and the credit union industry with an op-ed today in The Hill noting that — in addition to being exempt from taxes — credit unions enjoy a “compliant federal regulator that often acts like a cheerleader for the industry it is supposed to be supervising.”

Keating challenged NCUA’s proposed member business lending rule, which he called an “unjustified giveaway to the largest credit unions — those with more than $500 million in assets, which account for 76 percent of all CU business loans.”

He also pointed out that NCUA’s longstanding effort to dilute credit union membership requirements makes a mockery of the statutory cap on member business loans. “When credit unions have so-called common bonds like ‘lives in Washington State,’ or when they advertise that ‘anyone can join,’ or when they use Potemkin ‘associations’ to sign up virtually anyone as a customer, membership ceases to be a meaningful requirement,” he wrote.

“If NCUA gets away with further eroding the already tenuous limits on member business lending, it will eliminate another distinction between credit unions and banks—and further undermine credit union lobbyists’ argument that they should pay no federal taxes,” Keating concluded. “The credit union industry should perhaps be careful what it wishes for.”