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LIMA and MANSFIELD, Ohio-NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson shared the stage recently with Treasury Secretary John Snow and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) during NCUA’s Ohio Credit Union Forum. NCUA held two forum sessions, one in Lima and one in Mansfield, Ohio. (Snow was only able to make the Lima stop.) In his remarks, Snow said he appreciated the chance to meet with credit union managers, who are “such an important partner, such a valued member of the financial community.” He also repeated the administration’s support for the tax exemption. Though he said he had a lot to discuss at the Sept. 10 forum, Snow said he wanted to get one thing out of the way first: “I appreciate that credit unions are in business to do good, as well as to do business. That’s clear from your motto: Not for charity, not for profit – but for service. So before I go any further today, let me say to you: I value the fact you are for service. Which is the fundamental reason why talk of taxation of your industry, and what you do, is something the Bush Administration opposes. We know that you always get less of anything you tax. And we don’t want to get less of what you do.” CUNA Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn commented after the secretary’s remarks, “It’s significant that he keeps doing that, number one, that he was at a credit union event, number two, and that Chairman Oxley was there as well, number three.” Snow also noted that credit unions are playing a critical role in improving the nation’s economy, particularly by offering capital resources for small businesses. “Small business is at the foundation of this great economy, and credit unions have been there for entrepreneurs when they needed you the most,” he said. The Treasury Secretary commended credit unions for their work with the Small Business Administration to get more loans to small businesses and pointed to how credit unions can get involved with the new Health Savings Accounts. “In terms of the market for this product, I believe the future is bright. As small-business customers research the services you offer, adding HSAs to your portfolio are bound to make you more attractive as the small-business financial service provider of choice,” he suggested. Snow pointed out that credit unions are automatically qualified to handle HSAs, reporting is minimal, and no new forms are required. “I look forward to continued work with the credit union community on all fronts, and am pleased to share with you an optimism and enthusiasm for the future of the American economy. We have a shared belief that our best days are ahead of us. I am pleased to be working toward that future together.” [email protected]

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