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Michigan Credit Union League Home » Information Services » Publications » Contact » 2009 » 1st Quarter » Outlook  

Credit Unions Play Important Role in Restoring Economy

By Congressman Gary Peters,
Democrat, MIchigan's 9th District

Congressman Gary Peters (right) defeated Joe Knollenberg in November and now represents Michigan's 9th Congressional District.

Many reading this issue of Contact know me well from my time in Lansing when I served as a state senator. Whether we already know each other well or have yet to work together, as a new Congressman I appreciate the Michigan Credit Union League providing me this opportunity to reintroduce myself in my new capacity.

As a fifth generation Oakland County resident, I am honored to represent Michigan’s 9th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Shortly after being sworn in as Oakland County’s new congressman Jan. 6, I pursued and secured a spot on the House Committee on Financial Services. I was pleased to be one of a handful of new members appointed to this committee because so many vitally important Michigan issues fall under this committee’s jurisdiction including housing, oversight of the financial sector, and support for the domestic auto industry.

I also hoped to serve on the Financial Services Committee because I have worked in the financial sector for over 20 years as a vice president at both Merrill Lynch and UBS/PaineWebber, and also served as a securities arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. I felt my experience working in finance would provide me with the background necessary to be an effective voice for Michigan on this important committee.

A top priority of the Financial Services Committee is moving swiftly to restore liquidity to consumer credit markets. It is clear we cannot rely on large financial institutions alone to get credit flowing to Michigan businesses and families again.  Smaller institutions like credit unions must play a major role in restoring liquidity to credit markets and getting our economy moving. Credit unions didn’t cause the current problems in our financial and housing markets, but many are struggling along with everyone else. Congress must do what it can to help credit unions be part of the solution to America’s credit crisis. 

The Financial Services Committee will consider many legislative initiatives important to credit unions and their members in the 111th Congress. In fact, the committee has already favorably reported legislation (H.R. 786) that will permanently increase National Credit Union Administration deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000. Later this year, it is likely that the committee will continue the work it did investigating the need for regulatory reform in a hearing held during the 110th Congress entitled “The Need for Credit Union Regulatory Relief and Improvement.” I welcome and appreciate input and ideas from members of the Michigan Credit Union League as this work progresses. 

 I look forward to working with you and everyone who is willing to move thoughtfully and pragmatically to overcome the extraordinary, overarching economic challenges now facing our nation. In Washington and across the country, we must realize that entrenched ideology will not help us solve these problems. Clinging to rigid political philosophy is part of the politics of the past and is a recipe for partisan gridlock. During this time of crisis, our guiding principle in determining support for legislation ought to be whether or not an initiative will work. If a bill helps solve a problem and is fiscally responsible, then we ought to support it, no matter the party of the bill’s sponsor.
I know from my previous experience with members of the Michigan Credit Union League that you share my desire for reasoned, effective governance. With that said, my door will always be open to the credit unions serving our state, and I hope to meet or get reacquainted with you soon.

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