Credit unions are for people, not for profit: PenFed CEO responds to bankers

PenFed's leader states his case for the emergency merger with Progressive CU and pushes back on critics in the banking industry.

This month, Progressive Credit Union successfully merged with PenFed Credit Union as part of an emergency merger that allows PenFed to support all of Progressive’s current members and loans in the months and years ahead.

Critics in the banking industry complain that this merger gives PenFed an open charter, allowing anyone nationwide to join. Others contend that when large credit unions acquire smaller credit unions, it threatens banks’ market share and profits.

But the conversation around this merger shouldn’t be about the banking industry, size, profits or numbers at all. It should be about the people.

Progressive, a credit union that made loans for drivers to finance New York City taxi medallions, was facing the same challenges that continue to pressure all taxi medallion lenders in overcrowded markets with Uber and other ride-sharing platforms. For decades, the taxi medallions required to operate cabs in New York City have been safe investments for taxi drivers. Borrowing to purchase taxi medallions allowed drivers with little capital to make a living and provide for their families – buying homes, sending their kids to school, and covering medical expenses for family members.


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