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WASHINGTON — CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference displayed its usual elements this year. Politics, legislation and Hill visits played a part, as did a customary defense of credit unions from banker attacks and a measure of pageantry at the opening general session.

But like an unfamiliar and unwelcome guest, sometimes explicitly and sometimes only beneath the surface, the issue of whether and how credit union will be able to or allowed to respond to the steadily darkening economic situation in the U.S. kept worming its way into different parts of the four-day event.

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