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Looking back seven years ago finds bank mergers drawing the ire of Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.). Foley warned big banks that he may ask Congress to amend anti-trust regulations that would boost non-bank competitors such as credit unions if he finds that the increased “mega-bank” merger trend forces consumers to “store their money under their mattresses.” Foley, who serves on the House Banking & Financial Services Committee, didn’t leave CUs out as he cautioned credit unions about stretching the definition of common bond to suit their growth interests. That issue also finds credit unions setting the pace for Internet banking. A snapshot of the country’s Internet banking landscape reveals that 91 CUs offered Internet-based banking compared to only 35 banks. “Credit unions are driven by member satisfaction, not bottom lines,” said Dan Schoenherr, COO of Washington D.C-based Credit Union Online Organizational Link. “With Internet banking credit unions can level the playing field.” According to Schoenherr, the number of CUs offering Internet banking will substantially increase in the next few years. “It’s definitely not just a passing trend. More and more CUs I deal with are expecting to have some type of online banking by the year 2000,” said Schoenherr.

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