CRA Burdensome, But CUs Can Pass Muster

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Editor's note: the following letter was written in response to "Will CRA Be Forced On US?" (April 20).

I am not looking forward to the additional reporting that will be required under a CRA mandate. But, I believe many credit unions, large or small, will not have a problem showing they are already in compliance. This is especially true for those credit unions who have not strayed from the basic credit union philosophy of "people helping people".

Here in Florida the situation for credit unions that switched from a federal charter to a state charter may be a problem. The State of Florida had very lax guidelines for a field of membership compared to those required under federal guidelines. Therefore, to easily expand their field of membership, many credit unions converted to a state charter.

Some credit unions received a field of membership for a whole county or even counties without having the desire or the capacity to serve the needs of all people living there, especially those in low-income areas. This cherry picking of neighborhoods to serve is what got banks into trouble and lead to the term "red lining." To help prevent that from happening, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed.

So, here we are today. Some credit unions acting like banks. Causing credit unions to be treated like banks. Is taxation next? If banks have their way, yes we will be taxed. To prevent that from happening, an extensive education and lobbying of our congressmen is required. Plus, credit unions must stop acting like banks and return to our core philosophy of "people helping people" including those of limited means and poor credit histories.Michael Raley, President/CEO
Baptist Health South Florida FCU
Miami, Fla.
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