I have read several letters from Dennis Fisher lambasting Dan Mica and his supposedly misguided efforts to gain credit union access to TARP funds. Mr. Fisher asserts that he represents the majority of credit unions and because his side won, he suggests that Dan Mica should be praising those who defeated his efforts and acknowledge that it was a very dangerous path he was trying to lead credit unions down. Well, let me suggest several things for Mr. Fisher to reflect upon if he is inclined to view this subject with an open mind;
1. Accepting TARP funds (if we were eligible) may have been fraught with political and public relations danger but if any businesses deserved bailout from the financial meltdown this country has endured, it would be credit unions and community banks who had nothing to do with creating the problems TARP was designed to alleviate.
2. Before taking a position on this issue (publicly or privately), Dan Mica and the CUNA Board sought the advice of scores of credit union leaders at multiple venues. As a member of the CUNA Governmental Affairs Committee, I can attest to this fact from personal knowledge. No matter how much any of our committee disliked the risks associated with credit unions access to TARP funds, we agreed that to deny efforts to gain such access for otherwise well-managed credit unions would be wrong. This was made even more apparent after the NCUA imposed their corporate stabilization plan. As a result, many credit unions faced the added burden of Prompt Corrective Action as their capital was written down by arcane accounting rules.
3. The Corporate Stabilization legislation, which moved through congress so quickly, was largely the result of relationship building in which Dan Mica and our CUNA team has been involved for many years. While it is not TARP, it does constitute help from the taxpayers. It provides a small amount of capital relief and even more important, it provides time for credit unions to replace much needed capital.
Mr. Fisher should stop railing and start raving about the great job that Dan Mica and our CUNA team is doing in Washington.
President/CEO, Gwinnett FCU
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