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PHOENIX – Mesa Bank was recently reminded of the American Bankers Association’s “super priority” of doing away with credit unions’ tax exemption status. That reminder came from the Arizona Credit Union System through a Nov. 19 letter to the Phoenix Business Journal in response to comments made by Neil Barna, president/CEO of Mesa Bank here. Austin De Bey, ACUS governmental affairs specialist, wrote Barna may have been “uninformed” when he wrote “bankers have placed credit union taxation as the No. 1 priority – even ahead of combating terrorism.” “Mr. Barna has failed to research his own association’s priority list before writing a letter that challenges the credit union movement’s credibility,” De Bey wrote, adding the “(ABA) did in fact list CU taxation as a “Super-Priority.” De Bey also wrote credit unions offering (SBA) loans “has nothing to do with the fundamental structure under which the credit union movement was formed.” Bank profits have also increased 13 of the last 14 years and held 78% of the total assets nationwide by year-end 2003, he said. “After all this, if banks still feel we are unfair, we always encourage them to convert to a credit union. To date, no bank has taken us up on the offer,” De Bey challenged.

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