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WASHINGTON – Credit unions overall should feel more secure than they have in years about their overall situation, according to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. However, they are not immune to the economy’s overall situation and should be wary of the Bush Administration’s effort to “finance two wars with three tax cuts.” Frank said in their own issues credit unions should feel secure. “The bankers appear to have finally gotten the message that opposing your existence is not good policy for them,” he said. “Credit unions are here to stay,” Frank told attendees of a sparsely-attended session on the last day of the GAC. But because credit unions serve many lower income and older urban areas, they cannot afford to believe that they are immune to the economic downturn the Administration’s economic policy might bring, Frank said. Frank’s district in Massachusetts has 27 credit unions and he said a couple of the most active were in the economically distressed communities of New Bedford and Fall River. These communities will be hurt the most if the Administration’s economic policies wind up meaning that needed government programs are cut, he said. On bankruptcy reform, Frank was cautiously optimistic, noting that passing the bill in House was never a problem but that some of the same obstacles remained in the Senate. “Some of you may not know this,” Frank said, “but in the end bankruptcy reform failed because of a coalition between anti-abortion forces and the AFL-CIO. Both were concerned that protestors could have their right to declare bankruptcy stripped because they had been impolite,” Frank said. Privacy issues, Frank said, really boiled down to medical privacy and he predicted that once the Congress finds a way to protect the privacy of individual’s health data, “most of the other issues would be more easily addressed.” He said there may be nothing Congress could do about firms cross-selling other products to customers who had bought a similar product. He recommended everyone “install a trash can two feet from the mailbox and, when it comes, throw the crap out” as an answer to the problem. [email protected]

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