SALT LAKE CITY – Girding for a bitter fight in the state legislature over taxing credit unions, the Utah League of Credit Unions has begun a series of strategy meetings to combat an expected barrage of banker attack ads on TV and in newspapers starting this month. The TV and newspaper ads from the banker-financed “Resolution Alliance for Strong Banks and Credit Unions,” accused by the League as a “front” for the Utah Bankers Association are expected to call for a direct tax on CUs as well as forced conversion of large state CUs to mutual savings banks. A League spokesman said the League was also planning a series of counter ads to begin Jan. 16. The strategy meetings to discuss the ad campaigns were being held by the Public Affairs and Governmental Affairs Committees. They follow a legislative breakfast in which House Speaker Martin Stephens, a Republican and vice president of Zions Bank, revealed that a bill dealing with CU taxation would be introduced. As one League official put it, “this is a meeting on just how we save ourselves,” referring to the anticipated and costly Utah Bankers Associations campaign attacking CUs. In seeking conversion to MSB status and thereby federal regulation, the banker ads are expected to target the state’s two largest CUs, America First CU and Mountain America CU, both of Salt Lake City, which the UBA claims have operated as illegal commercial banks through their field of membership and product expansion.

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