Irked At CU Provisions, Banks Yank Bill Support

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The American Bankers Association said it won't support the omnibus regulatory relief proposal for banks and credit unions as long as the bill contains provisions that would allow federal credit unions to expand their chartering authority.

Ed Yingling, chief lobbyist for the most powerful of the banking lobbies, told The Credit Union Journal the ABA have communicated their opposition to the credit union provisions to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R- OH) and told Oxley the ABA will not support the bill as it is written.

Yingling said they can support provisions aimed at enhancing the safety and soundness of credit unions and giving NCUA more authority to set limits on permissible credit union investments and loan maturities.

But the ABA, which filed suit against NCUA last week (see related story on page 1), opposes those provisions expanding credit union membership powers, such as allowing credit unions converting to community charters to retain their select groups, or those easing voluntary mergers.

The bankers issued their opposition to the bill last year based on the credit union provisions, which angered several key lawmakers, including Oxley and Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the chairman of the subcommittee on financial institutions, who helped draft the bill. While the bankers' position didn't seem to hurt the progress of the bill last year, which was eventually passed by the full House, it could have an impact this year as the measure moves to the floor of the House and then the Senate.

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