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Article Was Right On Target

I recently received a copy of The Credit Union Journal for Feb. 24, 2003 and read your article on New American Credit Union. "Have Immigrants, Need Charter." I cannot adequately express my appreciation for the excellent job you did in representing our mission and its significance to so may diverse communities.

As you know, that particular edition of The Credit Union Journal focused on serving the emerging immigrant markets. I believe that the challenges and the rewards associated with the "underbanked" and the "unbanked" provide an opportunity for the credit union movement to reflect on its origins.

Thank you for bringing this special cause to the forefront of America's grass roots financial service providers.

Daniel C. Cote, President-CEO

New American Credit Union

Seattle

Bid Anything But 'Half-Hearted'

I couldn't help but react strongly to the characterization in your April 7 article, "Texas the Latest to Seek Secondary Capital, But." of Congressman Brad Sherman's efforts last year to get an amendment allowing credit unions the ability to raise secondary capital as "half-hearted."

In fact, if it weren't for Congressman Sherman's determined effort, the issue of secondary capital would not even be on anyone's radar screen. The course of action taken by Congressman Sherman, at first by himself and subsequently with Congressman Bob Ney, was a strategy carefully developed in close consultation with CUNA. If he had been more vociferous at the time and actually pushed to have a vote on the amendment, it may have done more harm than good in the long run. Rep. Sherman's goal, as well as CUNA's, is to pass legislation, even if it takes awhile-it is not to put publicity ahead of good public policy.

Congressman Sherman continues to be one of the strongest supporters of credit unions in Congress. His efforts on their behalf are anything but half-hearted.

Daniel A. Mica, President & CEO

Credit Union National Association

Washington, D.C.

Position Required Courage

This letter is written in response to the article in the April 7th issue of The Credit Union Journal, "Texas The Latest To Seek Secondary Capital, But..."

Given Congressman Brad Sherman's strong support for credit unions, I fail to see how you could characterize his efforts to get Congress thinking and moving on the issue of counting secondary capital toward net worth as "half-hearted."

As your report pointed out, bringing up the issue of secondary capital is bound to raise the ire of the banking industry, which still maintains a powerful political presence that is more than willing to punish members of Congress that it perceives as its enemies. Looking at it that way, Congressman Sherman's willingness to open up the net worth provisions of H.R. 1151 - provisions the banking industry insisted upon - can only be described as courageous and trail blazing.

No one, particularly Congressman Sherman, expected Congress to pass a secondary capital bill last year. The congressman's goal was to start discussion on the issue and educate other members of Congress. Working behind the scenes, he has moved us 10 years forward on this issue in the past 12 months. That's hardly the sort of success that could come from a "half-hearted bid."

Darren Williams, CEO

Wescom Credit Union

Pasadena, Calif.

Rep Went Out On Limb For CUs

"Half-hearted" is an unfortunate way for The Credit Union Journal (April 7) to describe Rep. Brad Sherman's work to give credit unions access to supplemental capital and to have it count toward net worth. Instead, Rep. Sherman should be praised for his leadership on this issue.

As a CPA with an extensive financial backround, Rep. Sherman immediately grasped the importance of this issue and its long-term ramifications for a credit union's safety and soundness. He is the first member of Congress to call for changes on how credit unions calculate net worth.

From my point of view, what the Journal called a "half-hearted" effort was actually a deliberate strategy on Rep. Sherman's part. By introducing the supplemental capital amendment to last year's federal deposit insurance reform bill, then withdrawing it, he was able to jump-start discussion of the issue in Congress without jeopardizing our chances of ultimately of ultimately getting these revisions enacted into law.

Supplemental capital and its influence on a credit union's net worth isn't something that will be resolved in just one congressional session.

By his actions in the past session, Rep. Sherman has set the stage ow it's up to us in the credit union movement to let Congress know why this issue is so important to us. Rep. Sherman has been there for us on this issue in the past-and I expect he will be there for us all the way.

When Congress finally does reform the law, Rep. Sherman will be remembered for going out on a limb when no one else in Congress would. He is to be commended not disparaged.

Grace Mayo, President-CEO

Telesis Community Credit Union

Chatsworth, Calif.

The Credit Union Journal encourages letters to the editor and other feedback. Write P.O. Box 4387, West Palm Beach, FL 33402, or e-mail fdiekmann cujournal.com.

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