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SALT LAKE CITY – The $1.3 billion Mountain America Federal Credit Union may not be directly impacted by that Dec. 9 judge’s ruling against NCUA field of membership policies in Utah but that hasn’t kept the Salt Lake CU from speaking out on the impending clash in the legislature over an anti-CU resolution headed for Congress. In a yearend newsletter, Gordon Dames, president/CEO of Mountain America based in suburban West Jordan, called on Utahans to start buttonholing their lawmakers to stop the drive led by the Utah Bankers Association to pass a resolution urging Congress overturn NCUA FOM rulings and let Utah tax both federal and state CUs. “An arrogant majority” in the legislature, wrote Dames, is pursuing this “just nutty” petition to Congress adopted in November by a joint House-Senate Financial Institution Task Force whose recommendations are to be submitted in bill form later this month. The Utah League of Credit Unions is hopeful the resolution can be defeated claiming the public is weary of the bank/CU clash as the League-and Mountain America-promote the idea that the petition makes the Utah legislature a mockery in telling Congress how to referee a state matter. “Citizens of Utah need to tell their legislators to move on and that adding tax burdens to credit union members is not in the best interest of either the legislature or the voters,” wrote Dames. Tongue in check, he went on, “I’ll bet you that this resolution will really get the juices flowing in Washington.” Dames, calling the resolution deeply flawed, said the banking lobby’s major goal is to limit credit union competition “and increase the cost of financial services to the one million credit union members in Utah. “Let’s see-Utah has about three quarters of 1% of the nation’s population, is essentially a one party state and our legislators are going to ask Congress to get involved in a local dispute that has little national or political significance?” asked Dames. While Mountain America has long been the target of the UBA as a “mega CU operating like a bank without paying taxes,” it has apparently been spared the constraints of U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball’s ruling against NCUA and four Utah CUs which won the right in 2003 to expand into six counties. Following the passage of the March law in Utah banning business loans and narrowly imposing a first-time franchise tax, Mountain America converted to a federal charter but unlike its peers chose to expand via SEGs. The West Jordan CU has long maintained that approach has worked satisfactorily in adding members but the UBA has not let up in attacking Mountain America. In November the trade group claimed Mountain America was passing itself off as a bank in its newspaper advertising by not mentioning the CU name, a charge scoffed at by Mountain America. [email protected]

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