WASHINGTON-The Federal Reserve Board has approved the proposal of Zions Bancorporation to purchase Amegy Bancorporation and its subsidiary bank in Houston, Texas. Zions President Harris Simmons has been a staunch critic of the credit union tax-exemption and has publicly stated that his bank’s record profits have been hurt by credit union competition. He also recently became chairman of the American Bankers Association. Due to his history, CUNA decided to oppose the application in its first proactive attack on a bank. The trade association did not expect to be successful but wanted to get some points across. “We do not believe the Federal Reserve extended adequate attention to our comments,” CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard said. “However, we are gratified by the Fed’s apparent holding that credit unions do not compete with banks in Texas. In the short run consumers lose with this merger. In the longer run, however, consumers may win. With this decision, the Fed deflates Zions’ and bankers’ constant bleating that `credit unions and banks do exactly the same thing and that credit unions should therefore lose their tax-exemption.’” Zions is a $32.9 billion bank, the 44th largest depository institution in the country, located in Salt Lake City, Utah with $24.8 billion in deposits. Amegy is approximately $7.7 billion in assets controlling $5.1 billion in deposits. It is the 11th largest depository institution in Texas. Upon consummation of the proposal, Zions would become the 38th largest depository institution in the U.S.

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