WASHINGTON - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato on Wednesday said he will introduce legislation tightening regulation of credit unions.
The New York Republican would ban federally insured credit unions from putting money in corporate credit unions that are not federally insured. He also wants loans and investments made by federally insured, state-chartered cooperatives to conform to National Credit Union Administration standards.
Announcing his plans during a hearing on the failure of Capital Corporate Federal Credit Union, Sen. D'Amato said the proposals would "strengthen the safety and soundness of the credit union system."
How much of an impact the new legislation would make is questionable, industry representatives said.
For example, only five of the 43 corporates don't carry federal insurance. They are: Garden State Corporate Central Credit Union, Highstown, N.J.; Missouri League Corporate Credit Union, St. Louis; North Dakota Central Credit Union, Bismarck; Treasure State Corporate Central Credit Union, Helena, Mont.; and Wisconsin Corporate Central Credit Union, Hales Corners.
In order to accept deposits, those uninsured corporates already must comply with the same investment and capital criteria as their federally insured counterparts, and they are examined by the NCUA.
Joni Martin, senior vice president of $560 million-asset Missouri League Corporate, said her institution believes that federal insurance for a corporate is "deceptive" because the bulk of the deposits are uninsured - virtually all of them exceeding the $100,000 limit.
Federal insurance would generate only a slight increase in operating expenses.
Gauging the impact of Sen. D'Amato's plan to make state-chartered institutions follow federal investment and loan guidelines is thornier. Sen. D'Amato said the need for such legislation is shown by how state- chartered, federally insured thrifts could receive far wider investment powers than federal ones.
Some sources said legislation could eliminate the appeal of a state charter and drive those organizations to seek a federal charter.
But Doug Duerr, president of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, said the impact on dual chartering would be minimal, because to a large degree state institutions comply with federal guidelines due to insurance requirements.