OKLAHOMA CITY – Like a cheerleader getting behind his team, Oklahoma Bankers Association Chairman Douglas Tippens is urging Oklahoma bank employees to send letters to Oklahoma Senators Don Nickles (R) and James Inhofe (R) and their congressmen asking that they not support "the latest credit union power grab." Taking a page from CUNA's grassroots lobbying effort in 1998 during the push for the passage of H.R. 1151, the Oklahoma Bankers Association has put a link on its Web site that bank employees just have to click on to generate the letters. "As of today, 1,428 Oklahoma bankers have clicked on the link and sent these letters. That's 1,428 out of approximately 17,000 bank employees across the sate. Let's keep it going! `Kell' Kelly (OBA's former chairman), Team 21 leader, is challenging all OBA Board members to get 100 percent participation in sending this letter from their bank employees. He is committing that SpiritBank will do the same.We can win this fight! Please – if you haven't sent the letters yet, just click on the link above, fill in your name and zip code, and it's done. You can do this in about 45 seconds. Please do this! We can't stop now. Together, we can make a difference – for your bank, and for your profession." Tippens also wrote that the OBA intends to "be inundating" members of Congress with the association's "White Paper" released during its annual convention in April, that "outlines the specifics of the Oklahoma inequities, and points out that these large, multi-jurisdictional `new breed' credit unions are a fraud on the American taxpayer." Tippens cited CUNA's recent conference it held in Washington, D.C. for credit union league government and public relations specialists at which several CUNA lobbyists were asked to assess the status of the current credit union/banker debate on Capitol Hill. He quoted one lobbyist who said "the credit union industry needs to `step it up.'" Tippens quoted the lobbyist as saying the bankers' message is sinking in. "Needless to say, this is good news. It's way to early to start celebrating, but, hopefully, this news will give more bankers the courage to participate and to help us make a difference in this fight for survival," Tippens wrote.

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