Banker's Lament: CU Forces Bank To Pay Higher Rates

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A Utah bank said it has been forced to pay customers higher rates on deposits due to competition from local credit unions.

Harris Simmons, chairman and CEO of Zions Bank who is a strong credit union critic and chairman-elect of the American Bankers Association, told The American Banker that "pressure from other banks and specifically credit unions in Utah prompted it to raise rates on money market accounts by 20 basis points late in the fourth quarter." The American Banker is an affiliate of The Credit Union Journal.

Record Net Income

Zions recently reported record net income of $105 million during the fourth quarter of 2004. For the year, the $32-billion Zions said net income increased 20.2% to a record $406 million, up from $337.8 million during the previous year.

In response to Simmons' statement, CUNA's John McKechnie said, "Without credit unions acting as honest brokers, banks would be free to charge even more for their services," observed the senior vice president of governmental affairs. "Mr. Simmons would rather blame us, but his customers are probably thanking us."

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