New NCUA Website Offers Nearly 300 Best Practices

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On the one-year anniversary of NCUA Board Member Deborah Matz' introduction of the PALS program, Matz unveiled a new website developed as a result of the PALS workshops featuring best practices on everything from member business loans and mortgages to serving the underserved and marketing to latinos.

In her remarks before CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference, Matz demonstrated the new website that is designed to help those credit unions who can't make it to the PALS workshops benefit from the networking and sharing that happens at those workshops.

The site currently features about 150 credit unions with descriptions of nearly 300 best practices.

Credit unions seeking to share a successful idea via the PALS Best Practices Website can send an e-mail to Matz including the name of the credit union, the name of each innovative program the CU wishes to feature, a brief description of each program, a contact person for each program and that person's phone number.

As the PALS program celebrates its first birthday, Matz noted that some 700 credit union officials have attended one of the PALS workshops. Upcoming sessions will be focusing on member business loans and mortgages.

One of the primary reasons Matz launched PALS was to help credit unions foster and exchange new approaches and tools to appeal to a more diverse field of membership. Such efforts are important to credit union members, but they also represent both good business and sound political strategy.

"Credit unions' cooperative structure is one key reason for their tax exemption. But it is not the only reason," Matz observed. "Several other cooperatives are taxed. In fact, some cooperatives are taxed according to the people they serve and services they provide. Therefore, some lawmakers are asking, 'Why shouldn't credit unions be taxed?'"

The appropriate answer is because of all the good works that credit unions do, she suggested, adding, "When you reach out to everyone in your field of membership-including new immigrants, students, members of the military, single mothers, small business owners, senior citizens, renters and other people with low to moderate incomes, you give lawmakers more reasons to preserve your tax exemption."

And being able to demonstrate these good works is going to be key, she noted. "I wish I could tell you that since you were successful in preventing taxation last year, you won't be threatened again in the future," Matz commented. "But taxation is contagious. If taxes are imposed on credit unions in one state, lawmakers may impose taxes on credit union in other states. If state charters are taxed, lawmakers may consider taxes on federal charters. And if large credit unions are taxed, it will be only a matter of time before all credit unions are taxed."

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