Bankers Ask Congress To Intervene In Dispute

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Meantime, American Bankers Association asked Congress last week to step into the expanding dispute over credit unions' service to the underserved, now festering in a federal court in Utah, as well. In a letter to all senators, the ABA charged that credit unions are using the NCUA's underserved field of membership policy to justify major geographic expansions into bankers' markets, in violation of the law passed by Congress in 1998, HR 1151, the CU Membership Access Act.

Citing several major underserved expansions awarded by NCUA the ABA claims is in violation of the law, the bankers urged the Senate to review the credit union tax exemption and whether credit unions are, in fact, serving lower-income people through these underserved expansions. The bankers' letter comes a week after CUNA President Dan Mica notified lawmakers of the latest ABA suit and called the bankers "cynical and hypocritical" for challenging the credit unions' underserved policy while questioning whether credit unions are doing enough to serve the underserved. The escalating dispute promises that the decades-old CU/bank conflict will emerge again in Congress this year, promising to affect key legislation for both parties.

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