SALT LAKE CITY – CUNA has agreed to give assistance to the Utah League of Credit Unions in its legislative tax fight with the banking industry by dispatching one of its top political action specialists here, it was disclosed last week. Scheduled to meet with League officials on Jan. 27 is Richard Gose, CUNA's vice president of political action and grassroots, who will discuss strategy and the experience of other states in battling banker-backed tax bills, said a League spokesman. Funding and legal help to combat the bank attack may eventually come from other state leagues which were not identified, said the CUNA spokesman, noting also that assistance is also coming from the American Association of Credit Union Leagues based in Washington. Meanwhile in Dallas, CUNA Vice Chairman Richard Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, acknowledged the industry's alarm at the banking attack in Utah. He added that the fight here is "a very difficult challenge" to the industry and is the most serious "flare up" across the U.S. He said Missouri also remains a battleground state with the court fight over field of membership, but "it is limited so far to field of membership." It is unfortunate, he observed, that "a single individual banker is using his predominance in the state and his own employees in the legislature to wage a personal vendetta as a kind of pet project" to destroy CUs. Ensweiler was apparently referring to Harris Simmons, the chairman of Zions Bank here and long an outspoken foe of CUs within the leadership of the American Bankers Association, Ensweiler said CUNA has pledged to help Leagues like Utah fight such tax battles "with whatever lobbying or strategy assistance" the trade group can offer. – [email protected]

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