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SALT LAKE CITY – Taking the latest potshot at NCUA, the president of the Utah Bankers Association, Howard Headlee, accused the agency last week of negligence in failing to prevent the collapse of Utah Copper Employees CU that merged last month with Mountain America FCU. That merger resulted in the $1 billion, SEG-based MAFCU being authorized to serve residents of Salt Lake County. “I think if the agency had been more interested in regulation than advocacy, that credit union would not have failed,” declared Headlee referring to a so-called “emergency merger.” NCUA officials point out Utah Copper Employees, which according to the FBI suffered large losses following fraudulent loans, was under state purview with NCUA brought in to assist in the takeover “under routine procedure.” In dismissing the Headlee accusation that the agency was derelict, a spokesman for NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar said the comments of the UBA chief executive are “those we’ve heard before” and bear no merit in light of the agency acting lawfully under its “paramount role of safety and soundness.” In addition, NCUA has acted in Utah Copper ECU’s interests to ensure the public is provided “affordable access to financial services,” said the spokesman.

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