WASHINGTON - Launching a new broadside attack, NAFCUPresident/CEO B. Dan Berger accused the banking industry ofbullying credit unions at a time when banks are politicallyvulnerable.

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Speaking at the opening session of NAFCU’s Congressional Caucusin Washington, D.C., Berger questioned the motives of theIndependent Community Banks of America in filing a lawsuit challenging the NCUA’s MBL rules.

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“This is the community banks trying to keep us in a box,” hesaid.

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He added, “This is a political strategy. It is not a legalstrategy.”

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Berger said the recent Wells Fargo scandal leaves banks politically vulnerable. Heurged attendees to stress the credibility that credit unions havewhen they visit members of Congress this week. “You have trust,” hesaid. “You can’t buy that trust.”

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Berger said the Wells Fargo problem will make it impossible toenact any changes to the CFPB this Congress. Several bills havebeen introduced in Congress to make the agency subject to theappropriations process and to expand the agency to be supervised bya five-member board.

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He said CFPB supporters will point to the Wells Fargo scandal asevidence that the agency deserves support. He added, however, thatthe problem was discovered in 2011, The Los Angeles Time ran aninvestigative story in 2013 and the federal government waited until2016 to take action.

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Berger said he was looking forward to congressional hearings onWells Fargo, adding, “It’s going to be a dumpster fire.”

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Berger said the elevation of Rick Metsger as chairman of theNCUA has improved relations between credit unions and the agency.“They’ve been very open to making changes,” he said, but added,“Everything takes time.”

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Turning to the presidential election, Berger said thatDemocratic nominee Hillary Clinton has specifically mentionedcredit unions and community banks in outlining her economic plan.Republican nominee Donald Trump hasn’t singled out credit unionsyet. “We’d like to hear that,” he said.

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