Our greatest accomplishment was advocating for the credit union movement while providing products and services to help CUs offer the best consumer financial services possible. Holding off a very real tax threat to the CU tax exemption, we built support for our position by obtaining a letter from President Bush, interviewing House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for our newsletter, NewsWatch, and acquired a letter from six Ways and Means Committee Republicans thanking the president for CU tax exemption support. Further, we exhibited the grassroots power of credit unions with the National Hike the Hill in September, bringing more than 1,200 credit union representatives to Washington in support of our tax-exempt status. Working in partnership with the leagues to modernize CU laws – and in the face of fierce banker resistance – we secured 69 co-sponsors for the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA), legislation designed to give credit unions more flexibility in serving their members. Showing our commitment to broaden credit unions’ involvement in the political process, for the first time ever we distributed more than $2 million to credit union-friendly congressional candidates before the 2004 election through CULAC, the seventh-largest PAC among all U.S. trade groups. Taking on vital accounting issues, we successfully argued to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that CUs should continue to treat loan participations as sales on their books under certain conditions. Maintaining our dedication to youth financial literacy, we continued our relationship with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and successfully launched the “Youth Savings Challenge,” spurring youngsters nationwide to save $1.4 million in thousands of new accounts. Anticipating the needs of the newest Americans, our Hispanic Outreach Task Force offered new guidance and resources of CUs to better serve this fastest-growing group in the nation. Dan Mica CUNA President/CEO Washington, D.C.

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