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There are probably already too many awards programs. But I decided there was need for another one, especially in light of recent developments in the banking industry’s all-out war to eliminate credit unions. So I created it. The new awards honor “achievements” in the banking industry by individual bankers and their various lobbying groups. Judging was done solely by yours truly. The awards are called the Pride In Greed or PIG Awards. The plan is to present the PIGs at a prestigious awards ceremony at a meat packing plant in Wisconsin to be held at a time and date to be determined. The awards themselves will consist of a trophy in the shape of a pig (a duck version was not available). Awards will be given in a number of categories that will include, “Best of Show,” “PIG of the Year,” and “Hall of Fame.” Deciding who should receive this year’s PIG Award for “Best of Show” was tough. There were so many good candidates. It finally came down to groups that have worked the hardest, spent the most money and staff time, created the largest number of creative falsehoods, and twisted the most facts in an ongoing effort to put credit unions out of business. Those groups are the not-for-profit, tax-exempt, state and national banking associations. Although the American Bankers Association (ABA), the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA), America’s Community Bankers (ACB), the Utah Bankers Association, and the Missouri Bankers Association, all had impressive anti-credit union track records, the award goes to the ABA. Hopefully the losers won’t feel that ABA won solely because of its larger size, which enables it to devote considerably more resources towards bashing credit unions. Probably the one deciding factor was its consistent high level of hypocrisy. The PIG “Hall of Fame” award goes to all those bankers who constantly claim that they cannot compete effectively against not-for-profit, tax-exempt, credit unions citing the lack of a level playing field. I gave them the winning nod because despite their collective whining, their banks, large and small, somehow manage to rack up record profits and growth statistics year after year. Unfortunately there are so many winners that no “hall” could be found that could accommodate all the individuals worthy of receiving this important recognition. A former banker now managing one of those billion dollar credit unions banks love to hate suggested a solution. He felt the award should be presented somewhere in Nebraska on a level playing field. The hands down winner for the “PIG of the Year” is Harris Simmons, an executive with the largest bank in Utah and the incoming chairman of the ABA. Although the competition for this very special recognition was very tough, no one individual in the banking industry is as hung up on credit unions as he is. It is rumored that he regularly has nightmares that someday credit unions might bring money into their coffers that otherwise might have been added to his already very generous compensation, stock option, and bonus package. A Special “PIG Award of Merit” is given to mega bank Citigroup for achieving a 29 percent increase in profit in this year’s first quarter while gobbling up other banks and firing thousands of staff. As further proof that they are most deserving of this award, revenues also rose substantially, 16 percent, to $21.49 billion. Among the dozens and dozens of other PIG Awards are these: “Best Headline In a Banking Industry Periodical for Helping Advance the Cause of Credit Unions.” Among hundreds of possible winners, the award goes to: “Banks Again Achieve Record Profits With Soaring Fee Income.” Calling credit unions “parasites” earns the “Best Name Calling By a High-Profile Banking Leader PIG Award” for its attempt to convince consumers that patriotism demands that every man, woman, and child become a bank customer rather than a credit union member. The “PIG Stealth Award” goes to the reportedly 75 percent of Wisconsin’s 320 banks with a presence in Nevada where they found no need to gamble on paying taxes owed to the Badger State. The “Dumbest Move PIG Award” goes to banking lobbyists in Utah for winning the battle but losing the war in their efforts to tax the Beehive State’s credit unions out of existence. Instead, about a dozen mostly larger credit unions switched to a FCU charter thus depriving the state of a large sum of regulatory fee income. The “PIG Spin Award” is given to ABA staffer Keith Leggett, an occasional speaker at credit union meetings, for his skill at explaining why banks really love credit unions, especially the tiny, plain vanilla types. He says, “credit unions were created to serve only those of modest means.” We say, “Banks were created to only serve the wealthy.” We all say, “please define modest means and wealthy.” A late entrant won hands down the “PIG Misplaced Priorities Award.” In the interest of full disclosure, the eventual winner, once again the American Bankers Association, was nominated by CUNA CEO Dan Mica after he discovered that the ABA had listed “taxing of credit unions” as a “super priority” over combating terrorism, corporate reform, accurate accounting, and preventing crimes like identity theft. Mica has asked members of Congress to confirm that this PIG Award is well deserved. Among the hundreds of winners in this first “PIG Awards Program,” far too many to even highlight here, is one that says it all; the “Lifetime Achievement PIG Award.” This top award goes to all banking lobbyists who keep fanning the anti-credit union flames in an effort to justify the massive dues paid by banks to be able to afford some of the biggest paychecks in the trade association business. Congratulations to all the PIG winners! Comments? Call 1-800-345-9936, Ext. 15, or Fax 561-683-8514, or E-mail [email protected]

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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