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LAS VEGAS – Though a planned bank/credit union debate has been called off, Nevada credit unions will get a chance to counter long-running banker attacks in a special section of the Nevada Business Journal. The downer: they’ll have to wait until May 2005. “We would have preferred to hash out our differences with bankers in a debate and we’re a little disappointed that the bankers’ commitment fizzled,” said a spokesman for the California Credit Union League which manages affairs for the Nevada Credit Union League as well as handling negotiations with the Business Journal. The CU position, defending the industry against banker attacks over tax exemption and business lending led by a Nevada-based affiliate of Utah-based Zions Bank Chairman Harris Simmons, is slated for appearance in a first-time “Credit Union Roundtable” section to appear in the May issue of the Journal. “Invitations to the top 25 Nevada credit unions we were told are going out in January with the Las Vegas meeting of credit unions set in March,” said the California League spokesman. That would mean “just about every credit union would get an invite to come to Las Vegas since there are only 30 credit unions in the whole state,” the spokesman quipped. The original plan, as put forward by the editor of the Journal, Kathleen Foley, was to hold a bank/CU debate in August, but the Nevada Bankers Association asked for a postponement citing medical appointments for William Martin, chairman of Nevada State Bank, whose previous railings against CUs – appearing frequently in the Journal – raised the ire of the Nevada League. The League leadership, in particular, complained to Foley charging bias and unfair treatment for CUs following what were seen as venomous quotes appearing in the July 13 “Bankers Roundtable” issue. Foley maintained many industries in Nevada from tourism to gaming get special treatment and it was only “natural” that bankers would get to voice their views on issues of the day “as they see them.” Following the League complaints, the Business Journal agreed to hold a bank/CU debate which would be transcribed. But late last month Foley got word the bankers were not interested in participating in a debate. “There was an awful lot of waffling going on with bankers not too excited about going ahead with a debate,” she said deciding then to cancel but to have a feature in a future issue devoted to credit unions. Thus the “Credit Union Roundtable.” The California League spokesman said the “Roundtable” will at least provide Nevada CU leaders a forum to clear up misconceptions and untruths put forward by the Nevada Bankers Association as well as present a positive “agenda” on the role CUs play in the state economy in helping consumers and the under-banked. [email protected]

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