ANAHEIM, Calif. – This may be David Chatfield and Diana Dykstra’s last California and Nevada Credit Union League’s Credit Union Leadership Summit as president/CEO and chairman, but you wouldn’t have known it from their impassioned opening statements. Both leaders opened the event’s grand assembly with calls to action for delegates to actively join the fight, if they haven’t already, against the banking industry’s attacks on the credit union movement. Dykstra diverted from her prepared remarks to share a personal story that illustrates the need to educate the public about the differences between credit unions and banks. The San Francisco Fire Credit Union chief described a tire store she passes on the drive to work each day, which features a marquee sign that changes its message daily. Earlier this year, she saw a message that struck her as relevant to her industry. “It read, `All politics are based on the indifference of the majority’,” Dykstra said, “which means we must all band together, we must all work together, because we cannot become the indifference of the majority.” President/CEO David Chatfield warned the audience that the threat to the credit union industry is advancing. “This isn’t just hype or trade association talk to justify dues. Others have declared themselves to be our adversaries, and they are definitely gaining strength,” he said. Chatfield stressed the urgency of time, announcing the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee’s plans to hold a hearing Nov. 3 to review the tax-exempt status of credit unions. Referring to bank industry strategy, Chatfield said, “They’re not after some of us, they’re after all of us.” Chatfield had strong words for the bankers, mincing no words saying that greed is driving their anti-credit union agenda. Credit unions are consumers’ last defense against a greedy banking industry, Chatfield said, adding, “If we weren’t here, they could do whatever they’d like to consumers.” The League leader said credit unions can win the fight, but only if industry executives recognize that it is their job to organize and lead an effective opposition. -

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