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SALT LAKE CITY – The score is 1-1 in that campaign begun nearly a year ago by the Utah League of Credit Unions to bring wayward members back into the fold. The League drive, which follows policy splits in the trade organization on just how it should fight banker attacks and how they are to be financed, has sought to return to its member rolls five credit unions which quit the organization. Following the appointment of a new president/CEO, Scott G. Simpson, in December, the League Board has stepped up its effort to woo recalcitrant members to rejoin. Last week it announced that the $335 million Cyprus Federal CU has come back. However in a setback, the $208 million Utah Power & Light Employees CU of Salt Lake City, said it would not be paying its January dues “for the year” because of policy differences with the League, CUNA and NCUA related to relaxed rules regarding “closed membership” CUs like Utah Power. “It’s just my opinion and that of my board that NCUA has moved so rapidly on changing open field of membership that we are going to bring more banker tax attacks based on credit union size,” explained Robert Howell, president of Utah Power CU. At the same time, Howell said Utah Power with its 15,000 members located primarily in both Utah and Wyoming, is considering seeking a federal charter to take advantage of eased branching rules under NCUA. Utah Power CU, whose corporate sponsor, PacifiCorp.is based in Portland, Ore. but was recently purchased by a Scottish energy firm, remains the largest state chartered CU in the state. But under a federal charter, said Howell, Utah Power could branch into Wyoming’s Rock Springs/Evanston area where the company has 1,100 members. “It is something we are looking at,” said Howell. Meanwhile, Cyprus FCU in Magna said it was pleased with the changed policies of the League and its “more offensive rather than defensive” approach to confronting banker attacks and getting involved in statewide political races. Simpson, the new League president who replaced Scott G. Earl, who quit his position with the League in November, had met with the Cyprus management and its board in January to discuss reinstatement. “We listened to their plan, we liked what we heard and we felt we ought to be involved,” said Dale Catten, president/CEO of Cyprus FCU, which has long had ties to Kennecott Copper Corp. with plants in the Magna area. Cyrpus was one of the earliest state CUs to flee the state system for a federal charter in February 2003. Since then, Cyrpus has had no regrets and has found the federal system more accommodating to business loans and branch expansion, he said.. Cyprus, which gave up Salt Lake County as its FOM base in favor of an association structure, intends to open its 10th branch and a $4 million operations center next month in West Jordan, said Catten. In the meantime, Cyprus is hopeful the League’s new approach to fixing the state system will bear fruit in the next session of the legislature, said Catten. “Though we now hold a federal charter, we are firm believers in the dual banking system and we would like to state law improved to allow” an improved structure, said Catten. -

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