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Looking back 14 years ago finds the American Bankers Association charging that a CUNA program to win bankers’ signatures on statements of support violates antitrust laws. “Failing to make clear that your association is not advocating economic retaliation against those who do not sign the support statement could quickly raise the specter of antitrust violations,” ABA General Counsel John Gill wrote to CUNA. CUNA spokeswoman Mary Reardon responded, “The idea was never to boycott or take business from the banks. It was to gather information.” Some credit unions have reportedly pulled deposits out of banks that failed to sign the “Bankers Statement of Support” pledge that CUNA is using as part of its Operation Grassroots lobbying program. Whether or not that action is an implicit part of the lobbying effort raises the question of possible antitrust violations. That issue also finds America’s 100 largest credit unions growing at a 7.1% clip significantly outpacing the overall growth rate of 4.6% among credit unions. That group represented some $47.1 billion at yearend or 23% of all credit union assets.

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