NAFCU Goes Negative Too, In BankerBattles

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TORONTO - (07/17/06) – NAFCU announced a major shiftin its political strategy last week and began attacking thebankers, following a similar shift by CUNA in recent months. NAFCUhelped convince Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont to ask for agovernment study of the trends and developments in the bankingindustry, including how the banks and thrifts have benefitted froma variety of tax breaks, federal subsidies and tax avoidancemeasures. “I suspect that the study will show the banking andthrift industries are doing quite well, earning tidy sums for theirexecutives and directors, while enjoying government aid and taxbreaks that dwarf the benefits credit unions receive,” NAFCUPresident Fred Becker said during last week’s annualconvention, in acknowledging the new lobbying strategy. Creditunions have traditionally refrained from attacking the banks orcriticizing bank initiatives, so as to convince Congress that theyare pursuing the high road in their own lobbying. But recently,CUNA signaled a switch in that strategy, first by petitioning theFederal Reserve to reject a takeover by of Texas-based AmegysBancorp by Zions First Bank, headed by chief credit union nemesisHarris Simmons; then by urging a government study of the Office ofThrift Supervision; then by threatening to pull its support fromthe pending regulatory relief bill if the thrifts win a provisionto increase their business lending.

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