The fallout from Bank Transfer Day produced a lively pre-Thanksgiving scene on a Utah TV talk show pitting the heads of the Utah Credit Union Association and the Utah Bankers Association trading barbs over the tax exemption.
The “Good Morning Utah” segment on Salt Lake City’s ABC affiliate, KTVX featured Scott Simpson, president/CEO of UCUA, and his counterpart, Howard Headlee, head of the UBA.
“I had to be at that studio at 5:30 and I said to Scott, ‘Why are we doing this and who will watch at this hour,’” declared Headlee, one of the nation’s most vocal—and fiercest – critics of CU practices dating back to the fierce bank/CU field of membership court clashes.
For nearly four hours the two appeared in four- to five-minute segments discussing Bank Transfer Day reaction and the impact on banks and CUs from higher debit fee, as well as the tax exemption.
The Headlee attack on the exemption and “the implications to a crisis in funding Utah schools” was somewhat of a surprise, Simpson said, since the premise of the show and the debating interludes was on Bank Transfer Day.
Still, during the segments Simpson countered that Utah banks, not CUs, are “plundering the consumers” with price-gouging tactics hurting the state’s economy. He called the schools argument from UBA, “a diversionary tactic” from real issues arising from the Nov. 5 anti-bank event.
“It was simply another example of the bankers’ sleight of hand,” said Simpson, accusing the UBA of using “school children as human shields” in its anti-CU fight.
Meanwhile, Simpson and Headlee acknowledged that despite their sharp differences on such issues as the tax exemption and credit unions getting into business loans they have worked closer in recent years on such issues as debit interchange.
But the TV forum, said Simpson, did give Headlee a new platform to raise the tax exemption, once again and tie it to funding for schools.
Simpson said CUs have been striving mightily to aid financially strapped parents of school children “to make sure they have shoes and books” while banking’s prime interest is in “providing profit to stockholders.”
“I have no problem with Bank Transfer Day and moving of funds as consumers shop for their choice of financial institution but when the nation is facing a budget crisis and we are having difficulty funding Utah schools, I think the credit union tax exemption” is an issue the public needs to know about, complained Headlee.