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WASHINGTON-While CUNA hailed the ABA for coming to their senses and placing fighting terrorism above credit union issues on their government relations priorities list for 2005, an American Bankers Association spokesperson said the priorities are not in order of importance. In addition to credit union issues, the ABA’s `Super Priorities’ for next year include fighting terrorism, defending Gramm-Leach-Bliley, regulatory burden, and accounting and corporate governance. On a teleconference with the press last week, CUNA Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs John McKechnie said, “I’m pleased to announce this year that the ABA has slightly come to its senses.” Last year, CUNA ridiculed the banking group for placing credit union issues above fighting terrorism. However, ABA Director of Public Relations Charlotte Birch explained that the banking associations’ priorities are not in any particular order. “CUNA had nothing to do with our priorities,” she stated. She further expanded that the Government Relations Council and the Board of Directors set the ABA’s government relations priorities. The distinction between the `Priorities’ and the `Super Priorities’ is that the latter are hot issues that are currently in play either legislatively, regulatorily or otherwise. Also, under the `Priorities’ heading, the ABA included favorable tax reform for its members. “So essentially, they’re acknowledging that they’re going to pay for their Subchapter S tax breaks by taxing 85 million credit union members. That’s kind of an interesting tacit admission there,” McKechnie pointed out.

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