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SALT LAKE CITY – Attacks on credit unions by the banking groups proved even more ferocious in 2004 than it had been in recent years. In June, the three major national banking trade associations-the American Bankers Association, America’s Community Bankers, and the Independent Community Bankers of America-joined forces to create the Inter-Trade Credit Union Coordinating Council. The council was formed to facilitate communication, coordinate the group’s war to tax credit unions, promote credit unions’ exemption from the Community Reinvestment Act and proposals to expand credit union powers and fields of membership. The bankers claim they have made progress with a statement supporting the taxation of credit unions from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Don Powell and hearings to look into non-profits’ tax-exempt status, including credit unions, by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.). The ABA initiated their Operation: Credit Union earlier this year, an effort to educate lawmakers, consumers and others on credit unions’ unfair advantages. Separately, the ABA sponsored a contest for the best photographic evidence of credit unions exceeding their intended powers. The winner took home $1,000. Additionally, ACB initiated a letter-writing campaign in opposition to the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 3579). Suggested language for the letter was posted at the organization’s Web site (www.AmericasCommunityBankers.com). And, who could forget ACB’s infamous “quack like a duck” advertisements in Capitol Hill newspapers and elsewhere. Various state banking organizations also sponsored similar campaigns. Of course, Utah may have led the states in banker woes with taxation attempts at the state and federal levels coming from the state legislature. Just recently the judge remanded the field of membership approvals of Tooele Federal Credit Union and three others that followed back to NCUA for further review (See comprehensive story on page 1) The bankers hailed the decision as a major victory and the credit union-defendants are trying to determine whether to appeal or not. The credit union side also said the ruling may have little or no impact on the four credit unions’ fields of membership and nationwide implications are not anticipated. In his ruling, Judge Dale Kimball stated that the agency cannot just “rubberstamp” applications. [email protected]

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