Credit UnionsRecently some questions have been raised...


November 27, 1992

Credit Unions

Recently some questions have been raised about Maryland's credit unions. We want the opportunity to set the record straight.

The fact is, credit unions are the only good news in the financial arena. With an insurance fund of $1.26 per $100 in insured assets, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which insures federally-chartered credit unions, is much stronger than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The NCUSIF insured credit union funds with the full faith and credit of the United States government. This fund has $2.7 billion in assets. The FDIC is $6 billion in the red and may need $95 billion more on Dec. 19 when FDIC Improvement Act becomes effective.

Federal credit unions are stringently regulated by a federal agency, the National Credit Union Administration. State- chartered credit unions are closely regulated by the state bank commissioner.

Examinations of the books are done yearly to avoid problems. The percentage of delinquent loans to all loans in Maryland's credit unions is a very low 1.4 percent, a percentage banks would love to have. This percentage is right at the national average for federal credit unions, which constitute 90 percent of all credit unions.

Credit union members can be sure their money is safe because CU's do not do risky loans which have hurt banks and devastated S&Ls.

Credit unions do consumer loans for cars, boats, home improvements and the like. Their loans are short term and conservative: no junk bonds, no loans to Third World countries, no commercial lending for strip shopping centers and empty, unoccupied high rises.

We've stuck to our knitting, conservative, consumer loans, and that's how we've been successful.

In a time when people are genuinely concerned about where it's safe to put their money, we can say it's safe in credit unions.

The Credit Union Insurance Fund s sound, the loans are conservative and the regulation is strict and thorough.

Maryland's 1.2 million credit union members and the 64 million nationwide can rest assured that their credit unions are sound and secure.

Donald G. Agee


L The writer is president of the Maryland Credit Union League.

Fair Reporting

I disagree with William C. Moch's Nov. 23 letter to the editor criticizing The Sun's coverage of the recent Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.

The letter states there was no mention of controversy involving two North Carolina churches in discussion of a resolution, so it was not a "response" to that controversy, as The Sun reported.

Here is some background. Earlier this year, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church of Raleigh, N.C., held a marriage-type ceremony for two homosexual men, and Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill licensed a gay man to the ministry.

On June 1, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware's general mission board adopted a resolution against homosexuality in response to news reports about those churches.

The convention's resolutions committee received a copy of that resolution and used it to draft a broader statement on human sexuality, which included references to homosexual unions and the ordination of gays to the ministry. The resolution was adopted with little discussion.

The letter also says that was no "electioneering" for the office of president after the two candidates were nominated. The names of both men were, however, widely circulated as potential nominees for several weeks prior to the convention meeting.

OC I commend Frank Somerville for his fair and accurate reporting.

Robert E. Allen


=1 The writer is editor of "Baptist True Union."

Costly Drug

Your front page story (Nov. 13) about the use of naltrexone in the treatment of alcoholism incorrectly states that "alcoholism is the most significant drug abuse problem in the United States."

Not so. Cigarette smoking beats it by (at least) two.

True, alcohol accounts for more crime than tobacco or any other drug does; in fact, for more than all other drugs combined. As a significant health problem, however, alcohol runs a distant second to tobacco.

The "at least 100,000 deaths" per year that you attribute to alcohol -- more commonly cited as 200,000 -- compares to over 400,000 deaths per year due to tobacco.

About 30 percent of all health care costs derive from smoking related illness; again about twice the amount directed to alcohol related ills.

Which is not to say alcoholism is not problem enough; and effective treatment welcome news. Alas, it still is barely half the problem that tobacco addiction is; though they commonly occur together and are not entirely separate problems.

Franklin T. Evans, M.D.


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