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WASHINGTON-The battle between the banks and credit unions garnered national media attention with an article to be published in the Sept. 27 edition of U.S. News & World Report. The story, “The big credit union crunch,” written by Leonard Wiener, notes how credit unions help out small business owners and provide better loan and share rates for consumers. It states that critics say credit unions are straying from their fundamental mission, but adds that credit unions say they are just changing with the times. Change is often essential for survival, according to Three Rivers Federal Credit Union President and CEO Jeff Meyer who was quoted in the article. “The larger the membership, the more stable we can be, and the more services we can provide,” he explained. New World Federal Credit Union fell from about 4,000 members to 1,400 after the Carnation Milk facility it served shut down. The credit union has since been approved for a community charter serving five towns, but cannot afford to advertise and is struggling. Credit unions only represent 6.3% of the entire banking industry, Wiener reported, but the bankers still want to keep them in check. “The credit unions creating competition for me are a lot bigger than I am,” Robert Gorsuch, president and CEO of the $114 million Oak Bank in Fitchburg, Wis., said in the article. Three quarters of credit union assets are in 1,148 institutions, which “certainly gives them a leg up,” Gorsuch said. Though banks argue that credit unions should be taxed, the non-profits counter that there are no profits to tax. “A bank’s motive is to make a profit for its shareholders,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica said in the article. “A credit union has no shareholders; it’s just the credit union and its members.” [email protected]

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