Lack of Accountability

Given the services they provide and their structure, credit unions should presumably adhere to stringent regulatory requirements like banks do and public disclosure requirements like nonprofits do but neither is the case. These substantial regulatory and disclosure gaps shield the credit union industry from proper scrutiny, which is a disservice to all Americans. This is especially problematic for those who support traditional, mission-driven credit unions facing competitive pressures from modern ones pursuing profits. 

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Expert Views

Josh Silver, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
The Community Reinvestment Act should be expanded to cover credit unions, other nonbank lenders and insurers, according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Noting the growing share of nonbanks and credit unions in mortgage lending, NCRC Senior Policy Adviser Josh Silver argued that if nonbanks remain outside of CRA, “the competitive position of banks eventually will be undermined to the detriment of access to safe and sound credit and capital for LMI communities.” 
— National Community Reinvestment Coalition, 2020
Todd Harper, Then-NCUA Board Member and Current NCUA Chairman
“Why should it take complex, federally insured credit unions with $500 million or more in assets seven or eight years longer to implement their comparable risk-based capital rule than it took for banks and thrifts to implement theirs? That’s an uneven regulatory playing field.” 
— National Credit Union Administration, 2019
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Recent News and Insights


The Houston-area Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU), a $4.7 billion financial institution that has spent tens of millions of dollars on stadium naming rights and doubled in size over the last decade, announced its intent to acquire a $1.2 billion Louisiana bank. The bank “specializes in commercial loans,” reflecting a broader trend in CU acquisition targets, and will expand TDECU’s geographic presence throughout Louisiana and Texas.


The credit union lobby’s latest rallying cry will surprise policymakers and bankers alike, as it advocates to “ensure all financial providers operate in a fair regulatory environment, under the same rules and with the same consumer protection requirements.”


Last month, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board of Directors unanimously approved the agency’s $385 million budget for 2024. As usual, this annual vote received little (if any) attention outside of credit union circles. But with recent headlines concerning lending practices at America’s largest credit union and subsequent calls from House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) to investigate, the debate regarding NCUA’s ability to adequately assess consumer protection and fair lending violations at credit unions deserves closer scrutiny. 


Ultra-large GreenState Credit Union – based in Iowa with nearly $11 billion in assets – has scrapped its plan to buy Omaha-based Premier Bank.


PenFed has wasted no time in aggressive use of this prized open charter — a giant loophole hiding in plain sight —and has eclipsed the credit union industry’s overall growth rate in the first half of 2022 by a whopping seven percent. We’re here to ask – why haven’t policymakers taken action to crack down on this brazen misuse of credit union advantages? 


Four Minnesota credit unions are banding together to create a credit union service organization (CUSO) that would allow the multibillion-dollar financial institutions to make commercial business loans up to $50 million – ten times more than what they’re currently able to do on their own.

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