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SALT LAKE CITY – Perhaps it’s a given that Utah-with the most CU membership penetration in the U.S. at 40%-would also provide fertile ground for the banking lobby to groom the most CU antagonists. The following is a Rogue’s gallery of some of the key banking players: * Harris Simmons, long-time chairman, president/CEO of Zions Bancorp, the largest bank in the state, and vice-chairman of ABA, and who also sits on American Bankers Association leadership councils, preaches CU attacks to provide “competitive equity” with small banks. * Howard Headlee, the vocal and highly visible president of the Utah Bankers Association, who for years has spearheaded the CU attack appearing before countless legislative panels and on TV and radio talk shows calling for a clampdown on CU expansion. In blasting “mega” CUs, Headlee often has pursued a “divide and conquer” strategy maintaining the UBA has no interest in limiting growth of small CUs but contending large Salt Lake and Ogden CUs “are acting like banks” and their field of membership and service menu-particularly business loans-needs to be halted in the courts or the legislature. * State Rep. Jeff Alexander (R.-Provo), House Majority Whip who authored the tax-CU bill last March in the House but saw some of the harsh tax penalties on three CUs removed in a close vote. A milder version imposing a ban on business loans for the trio plus setting a $100 million asset threshold on multi-county CUs which might offer business loans was finally enacted and signed by former Gov. Michael Leavitt. * House Speaker. Marty Stephens (R-6) who shepherded the tax-CU bill and was once considered a “front man” for Simmons of Zions Bank where he has been employed as vice president in the business risk/corporate relations area. Two weeks ago, Stephens quit the bank job after 14 years to devote full time to running for Utah governor next year. Despite being a Zions hire, his relations with CUs were sometimes cordial though often suspect given his ties to the bank. * State Sen. Daniel Eastman (R-Bountiful) served as banking’s “mover” on the Senate side to adopt the CU-tax bill. Eastman along with Alexander, is co-chairman of a two year Financial Institutions Task Force, set up under the March law and slated to recommend possible tax initiatives against both banks and CUs in the summer of 2004 or 2005 as a source of state budget revenue. * State Rep. Kevin Garn, a Salt Lake area businessman, who has been a party to the CU attack before state agencies and legislative panels and was bitter about a defeat to U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, who was backed by the ULCU in a Congressional race. Garner is a scion in a well-known Salt Lake family and a cousin to former U.S. Sen. Jake Garn (R.-Utah). He is also the ex-GOP chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

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