For Banks, Terrorism Surpasses CUs, But...

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Fighting terrorism has finally topped credit unions as the chief priority of banks, but not by much.

The American Bankers Association said on its list of government relations priorities for 2005, "credit unions" come in second-only behind fighting terrorism-among the association's "super priorities" for 2005.

Last year, "credit unions" ranked no. 1 on the bank trade group's list of highest priorities.

"Clearly, the bankers' group saw the error in their ways-after justly encountering ridicule- and righted their view of the world, putting the threat of terrorism at their top of their list," said CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica. "Yet their outlook is still greatly distorted. Credit unions are not a threat to banks."

Mica again cited the consecutive quarterly and annual record profits in the banking industry, market dominance in key areas (including consumer lending), and sheer size of banking-measured in the trillions of assets-as evidence of the banks' misplaced priorities.

Mica added that the bankers' "priority" of taxing credit unions seems to be aimed more at paying for the tax breaks banks are obtaining through Subchapter S concessions.

According to the ABA, its "super-priorities" for 2005 are:"

1. Fighting terrorism, through anti-money laundering and other efforts.

2. Opposing credit union efforts to expand and the CU tax exemption.

3. Opposing efforts by the real estate industry to expand powers.

4. Supporting ethical corporate conduct.

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