To the Editor:
Once again, a proposal to have credit unions pay for the folly of the banks and thrifts appears in your publication, this time in Craig Mancinotti's May 25 column. Mr. Mancinotti, a bank consultant, no doubt will make his prospective bank and thrift clients happy, but to the nation's 12,400 credit unions and their 68 million members, his suggestions are as galling as they are spurious.
Mr. Mancinotti recommends that Congress "legitimize" the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund by transferring the funds and the administrative responsibility to the FDIC. Legitimize? Perhaps Mr. Mancinotti doesn't realize all $3.4 billion in the fund came from credit unions, which - unlike banks and thrifts - have put forth 1% of their insured deposits to capitalize their fund. And maybe he is unaware that the fund's operations are financed from that money. Or that the fund's equity ratio, currently 1.3%, has long been highest of the three federal deposit insurance funds.
In truth, none of the insurance funds is more legitimate than the credit union fund. Maybe a better idea to solve the latest thrift fund crisis is to "legitimize" the funds that insure banks and thrifts by requiring those institutions to put up 1% of their deposits for recapitalization.
Finally, Mr. Mancinotti states that credit unions must "participate in the solution by carrying their share of the financial burden" through repeal of their federal tax exemption. He never explains what this reference has to do with the thrift fund recapitalization. Credit unions worked cooperatively in the capitalization of their fund; this is just one example among many of how credit unions differ from for-profit financial institutions, and why our federal exemption is as valid as ever.
Rather than sling arrows at credit unions, our detractors would do well to learn from the experience of credit unions - which survived the financial turmoil of the 1980s with the highest capital ratios, the lowest loan losses, and the fewest failures of all federally insured financial institutions. Charles O. Zuver Director, governmental affairs, Credit Union National Assn. Washington