ABA Launches 'Operation CU' To Lobby Congress

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The American Bankers Association (ABA) is ramping up a new campaign it is calling "Operation CU" to lobby Congress to add more taxes for credit unions. But CUNA CEO Dan Mica said the banks face an "uphill battle."

"The bankers are welcome to contact their representatives in Congress and voice their views-it is their right," said Mica. "However, their 'Operation CU' literally faces an uphill battle as they correspond with lawmakers."

ABA's "Operation CU" was announced at its annual annual community banker conference in Palm Desert, Calif., the same week CUNA was hosting its GAC. The ABA is asking the 700 bankers in attendance to commit to regularly writing and visiting members of Congress and "to educate bank employees, directors, customers and government representatives about the inequitable tax treatment of large credit unions," according to the ABA.

The American Banker, an affiliate of The Credit Union Journal, reported that the ABA intends to mail "grassroots" kits to every Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured bank in the country and is asking all of the state banking groups to get involved.

Doubts Over Effectiveness

But Mica remained doubts the effort will work, citing a recent national survey conducted by CUNA shows that 73% of credit union members are much more likely to side with their credit union over a bank if a disagreement over legislation breaks out in Congress between banks and credit unions.

"In fact, 22% of bank customers said they, too, likely would side with credit unions," he added. "On top of all of that, CUNA's Project Zip Code has counted 50 million credit union members across the nation-a number that can and will be tapped to show legislators in their districts the impact of credit union members."

"The banks just do not get it; members love their credit unions because credit unions are in business to serve their members, not maximize profits. As Secretary Snow said at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference this week: 'You always get less of anything that you tax. Well, we don't want to get less of what you do.'"

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