Slideshow The credit union for people who breathe air: Comments of the week

  • July 14 2017, 8:30am EDT

Readers slam credit unions’ ever-inclusive membership criteria, weigh in on the OCC’s proposed fintech charter, encourage a rewrite of the CRA, and more.

Agreeing that credit unions should not be allowed to expand their field of membership so liberally:

“The expansion of the field of membership over the last two decades has been a travesty to the original intent of credit unions to ‘serve those of modest means.’ … I think ‘breathing air’ could become the common bond the industry is going for. Large credit unions should be taxed.”

Related article: ‘Everyone’ is the wrong way to define CU members

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On signs that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is renewing its push for a fintech charter:

“One should always be wary when a federal agency seeks to gain more and more authority in areas in which it previously did not hold sway. First the OCC claims authority to charter fintech companies in which it has neither experience nor expertise. Confronted with possible issues with the FDIC, they simply seek authority to grant deposit insurance without FDIC involvement (slipped into a Senate funding bill). What next, monetary policy?”

Related article: Why OCC fintech charter may have life under new leader

A retort to an argument about the importance of the branch in a digital age:

“Does the continued reported use and importance of branches reflect preference for personal touch or the fact that at many banks it is difficult or impossible to conduct certain business digitally? How many accounts are opened in branches because there is no true online alternative? How many of those reported branch visits were simply to use an ATM?”

Related article: Bank customers still value human touch

On the reasons for revising the Community Reinvestment Act:

“CRA has grown by mission creep since it was passed in 1967 — from lending in the area where a bank gets 80% of its deposit base to a multiple of things never in the law. For example the ‘Investment Test,’ the ‘Service Test’ and as the article points out a way to hammer a bank for about anything the regulators want them to do or to punish them like Wells Fargo. Now with internet banking — what is their assessment area? The entire law needs rewriting and clarified.”

Related article: Treasury quietly looking at revamping CRA

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Agreeing with Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen taking issue with claims that the central bank’s paying banks interest on excess reserves constrained lending:

“Why would a bank leave money at the Fed, to collect 1.25% interest, rather than loan that money out at 4% interest or more? Maybe because banks have more deposits than they have reasonable lending opportunities. They could say ‘no’ to those extra deposits, or they could accommodate the depositors and place the money at the Fed, ready for lending opportunities as they arise.”

Related article: Yellen lends support to tweaking big-bank capital measure

On the Bank of the Ozarks in Little Rock, Ark., ditching its holding company:

“Smart move by Bank of the Ozarks. I have long wondered why small to midsize banks haven't gone in this direction. Very little downside with the potential for large improvements in customer service and profitability.”

Related article: Why more banks could ditch their holding companies

On knowledge-based authentication questions, e.g., “In which of the following counties have you owned property?” (via <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a>):

“‘I love out-of-wallet questions’ — said no one ever.”

Related article: Security questions don’t answer digital onboarding challenges