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SAN ANTONIO, Texas – If credit unions truly want to differentiate themselves from banks, they need to remove the word “banking” from their vocabularies, Dick Ensweiler, CEO of Texas Credit Union League and Chairman of Credit Union National Association, told attendees during TCUL’s 2004 Leadership Conference Sept. 9-11. The remarks were part of a review of Texas Bankers Association activities, which seek to communicate to lawmakers that credit unions acting like banks should be taxed and regulated like banks. “The word bank is a four-letter word. We do not need to be using it in our marketing materials or in our slogans. We cannot expect members, community, legislators and public opinion makers to understand that credit unions are unique and different if we ourselves do not believe it,” he said. Ensweiler showed pictures of the “Operation Credit Unions” section of TBA’s Web site and spoke of TBA’s 20-member Credit Union Task Force created to educate bankers on the supposed threat credit unions pose to bankers. In an article in its Texas Banking trade publication earlier this year, TBA waged war against large community-chartered credit unions and those with multiple non-related fields of membership that TBA said have “morphed” beyond the boundaries of the traditional common bond. Photographs of two San Antonio credit unions, $2 billion Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union and $1.5 billion San Antonio Federal Credit Union, ran with the article. “The banks are after us. They are trying to paint a picture that credit unions are no different from them. We need to show our differentiation. We need to prove that we are nothing like the banks are trying to portray us,” Ensweiler said. “Their focus has always been and will continue to be on getting a maximum return for their shareholders, while credit unions remain focused on member service.” -

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