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CUNA rebuts the recent "Credit Unions Ramp Up Risk" article in WSJ

Interim President/CEO Bill Hampel underscored that credit unions have always taken a conservative stance in their stewardship of member assets in managing interest-rate and credit risk. The letter was penned in response to a June 6 Wall Street Journal article focusing on interest-rate risk at credit unions, and included comments by NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz.

Hampel reminded, "Credit unions' exposure to long-term assets is well-managed and poses no undue risk to the federal insurance fund protecting credit union members' savings. Further, the lending of these consumer-owned financial institutions remains prudent. Although long-term assets stand at 35 percent of total assets, they are dwarfed by the 51 percent of total funds from long-term sources: net worth and core deposits."

That mix, Hampel explained, means that when interest rates do rise, credit unions' interest costs will increase by much less. The CUNA leader also reiterated that credit unions' moderate approach to credit standards is borne out by their loss record.

"Credit-union loan losses were less than half those at for-profit banking institutions throughout the recession and have since returned to very low pre-recession levels," Hampel said.

Click here to read Hampel's Op-ed.