They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions... and a poor interpretation of statistics. Case in point, the NCRC's latest report card on credit unions versus banks about "serving the underserved."
A first pass through its 48-page report, "Credit Unions: True to Their Mission," focuses on how well credit unions have marketed to and approved home loans to the underserved compared to our sterling banking brethren.
The reader is shocked to learn bankers have done a much better job than credit unions in handing out home loans to virtually anyone, but especially the underserved, between the years 2005 and 2007. And that because of these glaring and damning statistics, credit unions have abandoned their mission and aptly deserve to be drawn into the Community Reinvestment Act.
And yet, a similar pass through the NCRC's website takes us through the hell created by this sterling banker performance they seem to so admire in their special report. Posting article after article about the mortgage debacle created by bankers issuing dubious loans between 2005 and 2007 (presumably to fill their CRA basket with the one hand while making outrageous profits with the other), the consistent message in these postings is that the underserved and the American taxpayer have been sorely abused by the banking industry's giving out loans indiscriminately to people who didn't and shouldn't have qualified for them.
I suppose the Hell created by bankers over the NCRC comparison period wasn't as "equal an opportunity hell" as the NCRC would have liked without full credit union participation. And for that, NCRC proposes credit unions and our members should now pave that road a little wider, perhaps to better serve the underserved a full helping of bureaucratically fostered misery in the future.
Credit unions got started and grew because ordinary people were tired of walking an underserved road, defined by others and perpetually leading to hell. And it has been through enterprise, good common sense and mutual participation that we have built an open, more responsible road that anyone can travel, if they want.
Banks will always be better at some things than credit unions. Fortunately, that does not include many good things, and certainly not our members leading themselves down NCRC's statistically paved road to hell.
Michael Dillon, Marketing Director
South Division CU, Evergreen Park, Ill.
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