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TULSA, Okla. – Calling attention to “several pieces of misleading information” the Oklahoma Credit Union League claims were included in a May 1st article in The Tulsa World – “Banks target credit unions” – League President Bob Bianchini wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper to clarify the point the article made. “The OBA is playing its same old tune about how the credit union tax exemption is a “threat” to the banking industry. Unfortunately, the article failed to accurately point out a number of significant facts about financial institutions in Oklahoma and across the country,” Bianchini wrote. Among the Oklahoma facts he offered were: * as of Dec. 2003, there were 91 CUs in Oklahoma representing $6.1 billion in assets compared to 278 banks representing $56.8 billion in assets. * Oklahoma CUs have a 9.7% market share, compared with banks’ 90.3% market share. * 136 Oklahoma banks are Sub Chapter S Corporations which means they avoided paying federal income tax totaling $109 million. Bianchini also stated national figures to illustrate how “the disparity in size between credit unions and banks become even more shocking”: * nationally the average bank size is $1 billion in assets. The average CU has $65 million in assets; * nationally, total bank assets of more than $9 trillion is more than 10 times CUs’ $623 billion in total assets. * The Economist reported in its Jan. 24th issue that American Banks’ total profits made up a third of all corporate profits in the U.S. “Despite these amazing earnings and profit figures, bankers still try to claim that credit unions pose `a fierce competitive threat’. The undisputed fact is that, nationally, banks in 2003 earned more than the combined total assets of every credit union in the United States. Credit Unions a threat to the banking industry? How ludicrous!” Bianchini wrote. “It is obvious from their own facts and figures that the business of banks is profits – profits for their stockholders. The business of credit unions is and has always been to serve and preserve the financial well being of their members,” he continued. Bianchini went on to describe some of the differences between credit unions and banks. As for the OBA’s reference to the “new breed” of credit unions, Bianchini made it clear that “there is no `new breed’ of credit unions. We are still not-for-profit financial cooperatives that are run by volunteers. “New Breed” credit unions are as much a figment of the OBA’s imagination as their trying to characterize the $623 billion credit union industry as a threat to their $9 trillion colossus.” Bianchini concluded his letter by stating that it is his hope that bankers “will face the facts and move on about their business and let us get on with providing our services to our members.” -

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