Monday, April 04, 2011 11:27:00 AM
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. - A letter to the editor written by New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile appears on NJBIZ Magazine's Web site today. Gentile wrote "Credit Unions are Helping Boost Economy's Rebound" in response to a March 7th article titled "Banks, Credit Unions Must Compete on Level Ground" that included comments from New Jersey Bankers President John McWeeney that mischaracterized credit unions.
While citing credit unions' cooperative, nonprofit structure as the main characteristic that sets them apart from banks, Gentile tackles McWeeney's referencing of credit unions' tax-exemption status. Gentile explains that average savings and loans at credit unions are better than banks and other institutions, proof that credit unions' "tax exemption is being used to help consumers, not drive record profits."
Gentile also defends New Jersey's credit unions' strength in lending. Lending at credit unions was up by 7.6% but was down by 6.5% at banks in the same time period.
The real story about N.J. credit unions, Gentile states, is what they're doing for the economy. From mortgage lending, which was up by 9% through the third quarter of 2010, to small-business lending, which was up 16.6% in the same time period, credit unions are doing what they can to jump-start the economy.
And they want to lend more. Credit unions are pushing for legislation that will raise the Member Business Lending (MBL) cap on credit unions from 12.25% to 27.5%. "This increase will help add $10 billion in small-business funding to the economy and develop more than 100,000 jobs. Credit unions are here to help. We don't begrudge the bankers for their success, but they must recognize that credit unions can play an even more important role in helping our economy," said Gentile.
Gentile's letter can be found at http://www.njbiz.com/opinion/86722-corner-office--paul-gentile.