ICBA filed a Community Reinvestment Act protest in the acquisition of First Financial Northwest Bank in Renton, Wash., by Global Credit Union of Anchorage, Alaska. If approved, it would be the largest credit union acquisition of a community bank.
Acquisition Impact: In its letter to the FDIC, ICBA said the acquisition would expand the section of the financial services industry exempt from taxation and the CRA, harming taxpayers and affected low- and moderate-income communities. The combined institution would be unlikely to maintain First Financial Northwest Bank’s high level of community development lending and investment once it becomes CRA-exempt, ICBA said.
ICBA Recommendations: ICBA encouraged the FDIC to take the following steps before approving the transaction:
Review Global Credit Union’s record of compliance with fair lending laws.
Review complaints about Global to determine whether the acquisition will meet the convenience and needs of the community that will lose its bank.
Review and publicly disclose the total fees that Global has charged its members in recent years.
Require Global to maintain community development lending and investment at the same level as First Financial Northwest and submit to voluntary public reporting and examination by the NCUA or a third-party auditor.
Require Global to submit information about loans and investments supporting community services and affordable housing so its record can be evaluated pursuant to the Bank Merger Act.
Ongoing ICBA Advocacy: ICBA last week continued its calls for Congress to investigate credit union acquisitions of tax-paying community banks following the latest acquisition. ICBA noted in a post on X that 20% of bank acquisitions are now by tax-subsidized credit unions, while ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey separately encouraged taxpayers to call for congressional hearings via ICBA’s “Something’s Wrong” website.
Growing Attention: Attention to credit union policy continued to grow last week with a joint letter from House Financial Services Committee Democrats urging Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to hold a hearing on reports of discriminatory lending at Navy Federal Credit Union. Also last week, NCUA Chairman Todd Harper urged Congress to grant his agency authority to oversee credit union service organizations and other third-party providers, as ICBA has advocated.
Grassroots Resources: Community bankers can use ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots action center to call on their members of Congress to hold a hearing on the NCUA’s lax oversight. Additional resources on credit union policy are available on the ICBA website.