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Letter: Enable credit unions to lend more

Bethpage Federal Credit Union on Sunrise Highway in

Bethpage Federal Credit Union on Sunrise Highway in Massapequa. Bethpage is the largest credit union on Long Island. (June 12, 2012) Credit: Daniel Brennan

I am writing in response to "Credit unions don't pay fair tax share" [Letters, Dec. 13], which took issue with the Newsday editorial endorsing legislation for credit unions to lend to a greater number of local businesses.

The writer stated that there is a lack of demand for small business loans. Nothing could be further from the truth. A poll conducted a year ago for the Small Business Majority and other advocacy groups found that 90 percent of 500 small-business owners surveyed said the availability of loans was a problem, and 60 percent faced difficulty getting loans.

Those in the banking community who oppose the legislation, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, say it would give credit unions an unfair advantage. Since the banking industry holds a 95 percent market share, nothing could be further from the truth. What is true is that the pressure on banks by Wall Street to produce higher profits forced their customers to pay higher interest on loans and receive little return on deposits. When that wasn't enough, the banks began imposing fees -- a move that resulted in the recent defection of customers to credit unions.

Credit unions are owned by everyone who joins as a member. We make no profits and pay no taxes because returns are shared with members. This directly benefits the people of Long Island, rather than Wall Street portfolio managers.

Kirk Kordeleski, Sea Cliff

Editor's note: The writer is the chief executive of Bethpage Federal Credit Union.