WASHINGTON - The American Bankers Association took shots at the top credit union regulator's description of the industry's members.

In a Dec. 11 letter to National Credit Union Administration Chairman Norman E. D'Amours, ABA president James M. Culberson Jr. charged that credit unions' clientele is more well heeled than the regulator or the industry like to acknowledge.

Citing a 1994 Credit Union National Association study, Mr. Culberson wrote "credit union members have an average household income of $42,050 - 46 percent higher than nonmembers. Credit union members also have more years of education, are more likely to have full-time jobs, and are more likely to own their own homes than are nonmembers.

Simply put, he said, credit unions serve a relatively affluent and well- educated segment of the American population, while banks serve a higher proportion of low-income consumers.

Mr. Culberson was responding to an Oct. 23 letter Mr. D'Amours sent to the House Banking Committee arguing that credit unions should not have to help bail out the thrift deposit insurance fund.

Credit unions should be exempt from this burden, in part, because credit unions "bring services to low-income people who banks may be unwilling to serve," Mr. D'Amours wrote.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.