WASHINGTON – It may wind up being a futile effort, but it did at least show effort. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica didn’t want headlines for a letter he sent to bankers urging them to appeal to banking associations to give up the fight against credit unions and spend their dues money on more productive initiatives, but he’s getting them. Mica sent the letter to the nation’s 100 largest banks. It’s dated July 19. “As you are no doubt aware, the banking industry’s national lobbying organizations are increasing their attacks on credit unions. In fact, we at the Credit Union National Association.consider the intensity of these attacks to be unprecedented. CUNA is committed to defending credit unions with all the resources at our disposal,” stated Mica. Much of the letter is geared towards telling bankers that the bank vs. credit union war is a waste of time and money for both sides. “The ABA and CUNA through dues or special assessments will spend millions fighting each other instead of using these funds on initiatives that benefit the consumers our member institutions serve. In addition, there is always the possibility that Congress will take punitive action against both feuding parties, as happened on several occasions during my tenure in Washington,” Mica wrote. Mica also said CUs and banks have failed to have any meaningful cooperation during the war years. “.we continue to feel that the enormous amount of time, resources and energy directed toward this battle on the part of our industry and yours could be spent far more productively; meanwhile, opportunities for positive cooperation between the credit union and banking sectors have languished needlessly,” Mica wrote. CUNA Spokesperson Pat Keefe would not elaborate on what type of cooperation Mica had in mind, but said the two could possibly team up on important financial issues like bankruptcy, Check 21 and others. Mica ends the letter by asking bankers to communicate to the ABA and state banking organizations to put a halt to anti-credit union activities to focus on more “productive endeavors.” He said the national banking trade groups are squandering dues in “pursuit of a goal that is both unworthy and bad public policy.” Keefe would not comment on the type of banker feedback the letter has received, only saying there has been feedback, but how much and of what variety is unknown. Keefe said bankers shouldn’t interpret this letter as an indicator that bankers are wearing credit unions down. “Some banks are saying that this is a sign that credit unions are crying uncle and have had enough of our attacks, that’s not the case,” said Keefe. As for the banking groups, they told Credit Union Times that their members drive the issues and credit unions remain very high on the priority list. Keefe said this isn’t Mica’s first attempt at appealing to bankers via a letter. He sent a similar letter a few years back. [email protected]

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