WASHINGTON-While it may seem a philosophical anomaly, CUNA's new Legislative Manager Leon Peace, formerly with the American Bankers Association (ABA), has been a credit union member since he was in college. He has belonged to several different credit unions since then, but primarily uses Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union. He acknowledged credit unions' better service and rates as the reasoning behind his loyalty. According to CUNA Vice President and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn, the fact that Peace was formerly with the ABA is just "icing on the cake." CUNA has pretty big plans for him that have little to do with the banking industry. Peace believes that banks and credit unions, legislatively, have a lot more in common than dividing them, he said. But moving from the ABA to CUNA is a "dramatically" different business culture, which he said is partially due to the size of the organization, but also probably because of the differences in the groups they represent. Aside from his history with the ABA, Peace also used to work with CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose and CUNA Grassroots Manager Gretchen Graf at the National Association of Home Builders. This experience, in addition to his background as a tax attorney, will help CUNA and the National Credit Union Foundation in venturing more into the low-income housing arena. However, Peace's primary focus will be on tax legislation. "As Gary Kohn described the job to me, he made an offer that was impossible to refuse," he said. When Peace initially left the ABA, he planned on performing some independent consulting, before he got the offer from CUNA. Kohn has also known Peace for several years and "admired his work." In just his first few weeks with CUNA, Peace has already been working on the Individual Development Account issue on Capitol Hill. "There are a lot of exciting opportunities for credit unions. I'm happy to have the chance to be a part of that," he said. "I see a great future for credit unions." Peace is also busy reaffirming old relationships on the Hill, as well as making new ones. For example, Peace just recently had a golf date with Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) of the Banking Committee. But golf is not merely work for Peace; it is also a hobby along with running and judo. The whole family is involved in running, including his wife, Betsy, and his almost-five-year-old Winona, who also participates in judo. Peace has participated in the Georgetown 10K, Washington Classic, Race for the Cure, and the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run (organized by the credit union community for the first time this year) in the past. Peace has lived in Silver Spring, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C. for about 15 years. He earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. He graduated law school from North Carolina Central University and received his juris doctorate from Georgetown University. [email protected]

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