|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, September 9, 1999||202-224-0894|
First of all, I'd like to thank Dan Mica and Ken Robinson for coming and for their leadership in representing millions of Americans who have voluntarily joined credit unions, who have put up their money for part of that process and who want the attention of the credit unions focused on them and their needs.
I am adamantly opposed to the attempt by the chairman of the National Credit Union Administration to do through a regulation what proponents of this proposal could not do through legislation in Congress. This is an issue that has been debated. We had a very heated debate on the floor of the Senate about whether or not the government should be in the business of trying to dictate to credit unions who they make loans to; whether they should be forced to move to expand their membership in specific areas, or whether they should be allowed as voluntary organizations to work to meet the needs of their members.
Many members of the Senate expressed their views on this subject. We had a vote, and we decided not to expand the Community Reinvestment Act to credit unions. The basic decision was made that there was no logic to its expansion, and, ultimately, the bill which was passed in both houses of Congress by overwhelming votes, took that position. We're now seeing an effort by Norm D'Amours to override in regulation a decision made by Congress.
We have had many credit unions from around America write the Banking Committee in opposition to this action. I could read from any one of a thousand letters, but I think our credit unions have spoken on this issue.
They believe on virtually a uniform basis that this regulation is unnecessary, that it is burdensome, that it is harmful; that it is wrong-headed and wrong-hearted. It is also important to note that if any financial institutions in America meet the needs of moderate-income Americans, they are the small financial institutions, such as credit unions. And it was on that basis, and the voluntary aspect of membership of credit unions, that Congress for the first time took action to reject CRA.
I am hopeful that the board will reject this proposal. I see this as an effort by a regulator to make laws without the inconvenience of running for Congress. I am adamantly opposed to it.