WASHINGTON-Will American Bankers Association Senior Economist Keith Leggett be cast into Dante’s Inferno for applauding credit unions? Not likely, since he advises the banks to use credit unions’ methods for political activism against them. In a recent column on the trade association’s Web site (www.aba.com) entitled “Managing Political Risk,” he noted how credit unions are making political involvement part of their daily routine. He cited a number of CUNA programs, but also pointed out that individual credit unions, like ABNB Federal Credit Union and Spectrum Federal Credit Union, are starting their own programs. Spectrum ensures its staff is aware of the issues and is familiar with talking points in response, as well as assigning branch managers to obtain letters on particular subjects from members. “Does your bank have a dedicated “political risk” management plan?” Leggett asked. “As an industry, bankers do not have the luxury to just pay lip service to political involvement. If the banking industry is going to curb the encroachment of morphed credit unions and achieve equal tax and regulatory treatment, the systematic management of political risk needs to become part of the corporate culture.”

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