WASHINGTON — Credit union travel budgets for 2009 seem certainto take a big hit when year-end forecasting rolls around this fall,say CU executives, but for now a spate of industry conferences thissummer are holding up well despite soaring air fares with one,CUNA's Credit Union Conference & Expo in New York, expecting a10% attendance jump.

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“We're all clearly concerned about those rising air fares forbudgeting this fall but our costs for executive travel for 2008were projected last year and so far I've seen no knee-jerk reactionto change things now,” said Paul Stull, senior vice president ofthe $1.1 billion Arizona State CU of Phoenix.

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Stull's view that a sagging economy and the sudden spike in gasand air travel, while worrisome, is not likely to change conferenceplanning for the time being seem to be shared by CUs across theU.S. based on a Credit Union Times sampling.

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Meanwhile, CUNA citing the popularity of New York as a draw saidit's projecting 1,600 attendees for its Expo conference June29-July 2 in New York with all of its 160 booths sold out.

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And NAFCU projected its annual conference a week later, July8-12 in San Diego, will have a good turnout though it will fallshort as expected of its Hawaii conference last year, which drew2,000. CUNA Mutual Group said its annual Discovery conference whichopens next week in Hollywood, Fla. will have 780 attendees “notsignificantly different than past years.”

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