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Congress Uninterested In Taking Up Bank Fight

WASHINGTON-Utah Sen. Robert Bennett said last week there is little if no chance Congress will get involved in his home state's credit union/bank wars, even if the state lawmakers pass the anti-credit union resolution making its way through the legislature.

"I don't think the chairman has any interest in this issue, and if the chairman has no interest I don't see it going anywhere in the committee," Bennett told The Credit Union Journal, referring to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Bennett, the Republican scion of a well-known banking family in Utah, said he has been following his state's credit union/bank wars for years but sees little interest of attacking the issue outside of Utah, where as many as one-half the state's residents are credit union members.

The non-binding resolution to allow states to tax federally chartered credit unions, said Bennett, has very little support in Congress. "I just don't see Congress doing anything with it," he said.

The credit union tax issue was debated by Congress in the 1990s during the fight over HR 1151, noted Bennett. "There is no appetite to revisit it," he stated, adding that he has relayed his feelings to Utah bankers.

The state resolution has passed the Utah House and is scheduled to be debated this week in the Senate.

CUs Pitched On Social Security

DES MOINES, Iowa-U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral promoted the Bush Administration's Social Security reform proposal to a group of more than 200 credit union executives during NCUA's Access Across America conference here last week.

Cabral told attendees she believes the Bush proposal to partially privatize Social Security is an important and innovative approach to keeping Social Security solvent. She urged credit union managers to talk about Social Security with their customers and said Bush's idea of an ownership society dovetails with credit union goals of encouraging home ownership, health savings accounts to cover unexpected medical costs and personal investment accounts to prepare for retirement.

"I would urge you to think about how that would impact your customers in the future, the individuals who are counting on you," Cabral said. "How we can incorporate that into financial education for individuals."

NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson said credit unions can discuss the private retirement accounts as part of their overall financial education discussions with members.

XCU Capital, Ameritrade Partner

CARLSBAD, Calif.-XCU Capital, the broker-dealer for 30 credit unions, said it has signed with Ameritrade Financial Services to offer online trading services to its credit union customers. The deal gives XCU's CU customers access to online trading of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and options, as well as real-time market updates. XCU Capital serves 30 CUs and has 46,000 clients with more than $1.6 billion in assets under management.

Small CU Solution Offered

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn.-Liberty Enterprises said its Cavion Plus unit has introduced a new turnkey Internet banking package designed for credit unions with 10,000 or fewer members. The service can help smaller CUs cost-effectively build an online presence, and costs less than $1,000 a month, on average.

The Credit Union Journal's On Deadline coverage is sponsored by Liberty. For info: www.libertysite.com.

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