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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – The California Credit Union League is fed up and isn’t going to take it any more. Fed up, that is, with bankers “boasting year after year about their record profits while beating up on credit unions,” says League Director of Public Relations Henry Kertman. “It’s time for us to take the offense,” he adds. The California Credit Union League designed and ran an ad in the March 9th edition of Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, that facetiously congratulates bankers on their record profits and ask the question: “.Isn’t it time for banks to invest as much of their profits into serving their customers as they spend on harassing America’s credit unions and their 84 million members?” The timing of the ad was deliberately picked to coincide with when America’s Community Bankers were in Washington, D.C. for their annual governmental relations visit, said Kertman who added that bankers have repeatedly timed the distribution of some of their communications to federal and state legislators around the time the CCUL is visiting elected officials. “We want to show that we can be as aggressive as the bankers are. We’re committed to going on the offensive and reacting aggressively to bank tactics,” says Kertman. Basing its premise on data released on Feb. 26 by the FDIC on “FDIC-Insured Institutions Report Quarterly, Annual Earnings Records at Year-End 2003″ which showed record profits for banks for the year, the CCUL designed the copy of its ad to offer its “Congratulations to the American Bankers Association, America’s Community Bankers, the Independent Community Bankers of America, and their member institutions on their fourth straight quarter and third straight year of record profits. Annual bank profits alone equal nearly one fifth of all the total assets of all the credit unions in the United States. Not-for-profit credit unions improve the lives of teachers, hospital workers, police officers, firefighters and millions of other hard-working Americans.” The black-and-white ad that was designed by the League’s federal government relations staff and which VP of Federal Government Affairs Chris Kerecman said took about 48 hours from time of conception to completed design, ran one time on the back cover of Roll Call, but Kertman stressed “the action is not a one-time activity by the league.” He explained that the ad was deliberately designed and placed in a way that it would be the most visible “and embarrassing” to the bankers as they visit Congress. In addition to running the ad, CCUL also sent additional packets of information to their members of Congress in time for them to receive it before they meet with the bankers. Among the items in the information packages are list of questions the League recommends legislators ask the bankers when they stop by such as: * how many banks have converted to Subchapter S status to avoid paying taxes? * what were banks’ record profits and how did your bank do? * have you profited personally from the sale or merger of a bank you worked at? * should banks be required to reserve capital against all of their assets like CUs are required to do? * how many bank board members do you think would serve on the board if they had to volunteer and if they didn’t receive stock options or payment? “It’s time for members of Congress and state legislators to ask the bankers pointed questions,” says Kertman. Kerecman added that: “The ad is a perfect way to highlight the bankers’ hypocrisy. Our goal is to knock them off their stride and let them know we will respond to them blow for blow. Whenever they send out untrue statements, we will respond.” He said CCUL has some additional plans “up our sleeves,” that he couldn’t disclose at press time, and he emphasized that, “The bankers get no free ride anymore. If I was them, I’d start looking over my shoulder.” -

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