National Credit Union Administration Chairman Norman E.D's Amours is encouraging the big players in the credit union industry to help out the minor leaguers.
In a letter sent to all frederally insured credit unions, Mr. D'Amours said small credit unions need help so they can survive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
The 4,132 credit unions with less than $2 million in assets-those that qualify as "small" - face "considerable pressures" in the marketplace, he said in the first letter.
"To survive, they need more attention from all of us," the letter said. "If we are going to live up to the philosophy, traditions and promise of the credit union movement, we must become more sensitive to this need and give them the attention they deserve."
Mr. D'Amours encouraged trade groups and larger credit unions to help small institutions. He said that his agency would be more sensitive to their needs, as well.
'Liquidation Should Be Last Resort'
The NCUA's board "urges its examines and other staff, within the context of safe and sound operations, to further the survival of small credit unions," the letter said. "Meger or liquidation should be the last, not the first, alternative when resolving small credit union problems."
In another letter Mr. D'Amours encouraged credit unions to make more loans, including nonconforming mortgages.
Credit unions can also market loans to customer who do "not have the best credit history, assets or employment record" as long as the loans are safe and sound, the letter said.
For the agency's part, examiners are being told not to "over-emphasize the importance of low delinquency and loan losses" and instead look at "overall managem ent and evaluate a credit union on effective risk management," the letter said.