CU Leader Stands With BankruptcyFoes

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WASHINGTON - (03/02/05) -- Sen. Ted Kennedy and two Democraticsenators called for the Senate during a news conference Tuesday toeither scrap the pending bankruptcy reform bill or make a varietyof amendments that would ease the potential pain on debtors plaguedby unforeseen events, like divorce, loss of job or medicalemergencies. Standing by Kennedy's side was North Carolina StateEmployees CU President Jim Blaine, a long-time critic of thebankruptcy bill, who joined the call for the bill's defeat."Without question there is abuse of the bankruptcy system today, ofmany types," said Blaine. "But there are two problems with thecurrent bill: it fails to curb the abuse and it fails to reform thecurrent system." The well-known credit union CEO called for a morebalanced bankruptcy that would not only penalize abusive borrowers,but abusive lenders, as well, those lenders who freely providecredit when they know the borrower will have difficulty repaying."If you're going to hold consumers and borrowers to a higherstandard of responsibility, then you should hold lenders to ahigher standard, too," said Blaine. Blaine conceded the bankruptcybill has the support of the vast majority of credit union managers.Kennedy said the bill was a give-away to special interests likecredit card companies and banks who have boosted their profits bythe billions of dollars during the decade the bill has been beforeCongress. If the bill passes, "the U.S. bankruptcy courts are goingto become the collection agencies for the credit card companies,paid for by the American taxpayers," Sen. Kennedyasserted.

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