WASHINGTON - Credit union leaders plan to meet Thursday to begin drawing up a battle plan to make their nonprofit institutions more competitive.
"We've been preparing for this since H.R. 1151 (the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998) went into effect, knowing that we would have to come back, knowing that credit unions had needs that were unmet," Credit Union National Association president Daniel A. Mica said in a conference call with reporters Monday.
That law eased restrictions on credit union membership, but the group is concerned that the law's curbs on business lending and other limits, combined with burdensome National Credit Union Administration regulations, are pushing federally chartered credit unions to switch to state charters.
Nationally, 163 federally chartered credit unions have converted to state charters since 1997, including 17 in the first half of this year.
The group's 27-member Renaissance Commission plans to develop reform recommendation for the NCUA that would make the federal charter more attractive, said Frank Pollack, chief executive officer of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Alexandria, Va., and commission chairman.
The commission also will consider creating a model credit union act that members could use to modify state laws and recommending NCUA organizational changes, Mr. Mica said.
Once the group agrees on a draft plan, it is scheduled to hold an Oct. 2 hearing in Chicago.
Focus group discussions are set to follow in October and November, after which the group aims to refine its plan, survey credit union members nationwide, and hold further hearings.
A final version is expected by May, and the group's board plans to vote on it in September 2001.