Thank you for your most recent installment of “Banks Behaving Badly,” published in the June 11 Credit Union Times. In the most recent episode, John Franklin, president/CEO of the South Carolina Credit Union League, meets with a banking industry representative to talk about problems and issues that credit unions and banks have in common. But then a plot twist emerges: the banking representative wants to debate credit union taxation! I also found it interesting, though not surprising, that the banking representative took a comment I made in connection with a Filene Research Study and used it out of context as a justification for credit union taxation. Considering the ABA representative’s decision to misrepresent my comments, I have decided to dispense with formalities. I have come to these conclusions about bankers’ lobbyists who constantly beat the credit union taxation drum: 1. It’s all about them. Unless they see how something benefits them, and only them, they are not interested in constructive, fact-based discussion. 2. While many bankers are doing a great job building their communities, many are also represented poorly by bank lobbyists/serial whiners. They complain about credit unions. They complain about the Farm Credit System. They complain about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They complain about the “harsh” restrictions placed upon them by those mean ol’ regulators in Washington. 3. And, all of this complaining because, as they say, banks are only interested in fairness. All they want is fairness? I must have received a different version of the script, because it looks more like the issue is money: who has any (consumers) and who wants it (banks). Their script can be outlined like this: Act 1: Divide and conquer credit unions through litigation and legislation. Act 2: Decrease all other competition from outside the banking industry. Act 3: Increase the cost of financial services to consumers. It is insulting that those pushing for credit union taxation view us as being so simple that we can’t see through their tactics and misrepresentations. Perhaps they view us as being too passive to mount a real challenge. To be sure, the banks have decided to make a sustained, concerted effort to “put credit unions in their place.” I am confident that our movement can once again beat back this attack. I also look forward to a time when we can take the “Banks Behaving Badly” show off center stage. Surely the ABA’s self-serving misrepresentations don’t warrant further air time. There are many types of credit unions just as there are many types of banks and we all share a competitive world as we pursue different strategies and formulas for long-run success. Whatever our competitive advantages or disadvantages, our regulatory requirements or constraints, we have all earned them. Paul Horgen CEO THINK FCU Rochester, Minn.

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