As a credit union CEO here in Utah on the front lines of the banker/credit union battle, I felt compelled to let the bankers know that I know what they’re up to. Back in early December I penned a letter to Zions Bancorporation Chairman and CEO Harris Simmons on bankers’ use of front groups to try and portray consumer concern about the credit union tax exemption, when really it’s just the bankers hiding behind some masks. Here is some of what I told Mr. Simmons in my letter: I am disappointed by one tactic that bankers have employed to promote the taxation of credit unions. That is the use of front groups to advance your cause. Like most financial institutions, Granite Credit Union is committed to the practice of never communicating with our members or the public without clearly identifying ourselves. To obscure or falsify our identity would be at best a serious breach of corporate ethics, and at worst a violation of law. The banking industry in Utah has a history of creating front groups including Utahns for Fair Taxation, the Resolution Alliance for Strong Banks and Credit Unions, and more recently the Tax Policy Clearinghouse and the Council for Sound Tax Policy. I believe these front groups are intended to obscure the identity of their backers and to appear as a more neutral and trusted source of information. In my mind, your industry cannot help but be hurt by such deceptive practices. I have always believed, “If you don’t like what is going on at the bottom of an organization, look at the top.” The use of front groups to obscure the identity of the bankers and banking organizations behind them shows a lack of corporate integrity that does not reflect well on you or upon other leaders in the banking industry and at the American Bankers Association. I know you are a man of high personal integrity and hope that upon reflection, are disappointed and embarrassed by this shameful course of action. I trust this candid letter will prompt you and other bankers to stand tall and fight the battle against the credit union tax exemption as bankers, without hiding behind phony public policy groups. Good luck in your efforts to do so. I sent the letter to Mr. Simmons back on Dec. 9 and guess what, he hasn’t responded. Maybe the truth hit a little too close to home for him. Curt Doman President/CEO Granite Credit Union Salt Lake City, Utah

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