"Credit Unions Continue to Push for Expansion," recentlyappeared on the Oklahoma Bankers Association Web site(www.oba.com). It was written by the group's President/CEO RogerBeverage and is reprinted below in its entirety with permissionfrom the OBA.

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The credit union industry is determined to "do something" in the110th Congress to expand their ability to serve virtually anyone,anywhere, and to further expand their ability to offer commerciallending services to their customers. Every time they do so, they doso at bankers' expense.

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We're told that a "deal" is being discussed in Washingtonwhereby credit unions will be able to expand into "underservedareas", but that the term will also be more narrowly defined. Inexchange for banker agreement on that expansion, bankers willreceive some red tape relief, most notably in the area of filingSuspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for certain customers with whomthe bank has an established relationship.

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Frankly, this particular proposal is absurd, at least in ourview. I'm told that it's being pushed at the direction of HouseFinancial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), and thathe is really putting the pressure on bankers to go along with thisproposed compromise if they want to get anything done goingforward.

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We're of the belief that, after the November elections, it'sgoing to get a lot worse for bankers in Washington, unless anduntil they decide they've had enough. It's one thing to give alittle by way of political compromise It's quite another to giveand give and give without having the basic problem addressed. Andthat problem is that large (but not all) credit unions are engagedin a deception and are abusing the American taxpayer in theprocess.

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What's the deception? They pretend to be something they're not.They pretend to be small, financial cooperatives that are open onlyto "members". But the "membership" charade is a ruse and meansvirtually nothing when all you have to do to become a member ishave $5 in your pocket or be able to spell the abbreviation forOklahoma correctly.

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There is very little time left in this Congress to take upanything that's meaningful. The problem is that even if we aresuccessful in killing the credit union expansion effort in theSenate, if it passes the House it will have established a precedenton which the credit unions will try to build and expand next year.With the Democrats likely to take firmer control of both the Houseand Senate after the November elections, the bankers politicalstrength will be put to a new test.

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