WASHINGTON-Knowing that hundreds of bankers would be ascending Capitol Hill last week during America’s Community Bankers Government Affairs Conference, CUNA put the printing press in high gear. In a follow up to last year’s `Straight Talk’ publication, which CUNA is still circulating on the Hill, the lobby group has produced `Straight to the Point’ with bullet points and eye-catching graphics to make key points and distinctions between credit unions and their for-profit counterparts. It points out credit unions’ cooperative, nonprofit structure and outreach to the underserved. “So Why Are Bankers Unfairly Targeting Credit Unions?” it asks. “The frenzy of bankers attacks on the credit union movement was at first puzzling. Now it borders on alarming as tactics devolved into misinformation, attempts at buying grassroots support and worse.” `Straight to the Point’ states that banks are attacking credit unions out of “pure greed” and for “market control.” The Independent Community Bankers of America sponsored a study, which they released at the opening of CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference last month, promoting credit union taxation and circulated it around Capitol Hill, according to CUNA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs John McKechnie. Though he said he is not sure it was very effective, CUNA looked to respond to the bankers. So, as ACB’s members flew into Washington, D.C. from around the country, CUNA began distributing `Straight to the Point.’ To be sure, ACB had its own `priority issues’ brochure to leave with lawmakers, which attacked NCUA for trying to block mutual savings bank conversions and the credit union tax exemption. CUNA plans to put out follow up pamphlets as needed, CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said. “It’s an easy, quick way to get a message across,” he said, explaining that CUNA’s staff hand-delivered the booklets to each member’s office. It is CUNA’s own version of the `truth squads,’ which follow around political candidates during elections and point out errors in their comments, CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Gary Kohn explained. [email protected]

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