WASHINGTON - In an Aug. 4 letter to Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, the Credit Union National Association defended its decision to change course and oppose a bill he introduced to tighten federal regulation of state- chartered institutions.

Ralph Swoboda, president of the industry's largest trade group, blames the reversal on two parties: the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors for whipping up opposition and National Credit Union Administration Chairman Norman E. D'Amours and his unpopular policies.

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