2003 To Go Down As A Good Year For Movement

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Credit unions have a lot to be thankful for as we say good-bye to 2003.

Not only did the movement continue its phenomenal growth of the previous two years, but credit unions were able to maintain a healthy return to help finance ample rewards for their members and to future growth potentials.

The regulatory agencies continued to be in concert with the credit union movement, with both NCUA and state supervisors doing their best to ease regulatory burden and foster the proper environment for continued growth.

And credit unions continued to fend off the tax man. The successful legislative battles in Utah, Iowa, New Mexico and other states illustrated both the strength of the credit union lobby and the popularity of the movement as lawmakers refused to back a credit union tax, even in the face of growing state deficits. This, of course, is a fluid situation, and one that will require continued vigilance and resources on behalf of the credit union lobby.

On the federal level, Congress has exhibited an empathy with credit unions, something that will be sorely tested next year when credit unions ask them for major regulatory relief legislation. And the tax threat has yet to surface in any serious way on the federal level, even as the federal budget deficit continues to grow to record levels. This is not likely to change in the short term, as the Republican-controlled Congress maintains its aversion to any new or increase in taxes.

All in all, a pretty good year, I'd say.

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