WASHINGTON-During the South Carolina Credit Union League's Hikethe Hill last week as part of CUNA's National Hike the Hill month,the group had the opportunity to discuss two key issues for creditunions-taxation and bankruptcy reform-with Senate JudiciaryCommittee Member Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Graham gave a qualifiedresponse to the taxation issue. He said he has told the bankers"They have zero chance of doing away with the credit union taxexempt status." But, he said, credit unions need to remain mindfulof their original mission and keep commercial lending in check. Hewarned his home state credit unions not to get too greedy,something he referred to from his days as a divorce attorney as the`hog rule.' Graham agreed to help credit unions determine where todraw the line. "What you do is not the number of people you serve,"he said of banker claims that credit unions cease being creditunions at a certain size. As a member of the Judiciary Committee,Graham said, "[Bankruptcy reform] is my number one priority interms of financial services." He added that "comprehensive reform,"not "piecemeal" is what is necessary. CUNA Vice President ofLegislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn notedthat House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley(R-Ohio) has expressed interest in moving the netting provisionsseparately, which could then start a slippery slope to carving outChapter 12 and weaken the bill's chances. Graham said it isunlikely for bankruptcy reform to pass before the end of theregular congressional session, but he is confident that the newCongress will yield a few more Republicans in the Senate and helpthe bill pass. [email protected]

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