Board members at Pentagon Federal Credit Union are so furious over the cost of bailing out corporate credit unions that they are considering the unthinkable: converting the $13 billion-asset Pentagon Federal into a mutual savings bank, according to a report in Credit Union Journal. Its share of the $5 billion rescue plan is an estimated $80 million, or roughly two-thirds of its 2008 earnings. Pentagon Federal president Frank Pollack, a longtime opponent of conversions, called the charge "confiscatory" and said he will explore every option to limit the bailout's cost to his members.
A D.C. corporate watchdog group laid out more red meat to an angry public when it compiled the lobbying tab that banks and Wall Street built over the past decade. Essential Information reports that from 1998-2008, financial services companies. including banks, brokerages, hedge funds and insurers, spent $1.7 billion in political contributions and $3.4 billion on lobbyists-a "financial juggernaut aimed at undercutting federal regulation," declared the report called "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America." Commercial banks handed out $154 million on the campaign trail, and invested $363 million in lobbying efforts over that time. But both figures were dwarfed by the securities sector's more than $1.8 billion in combined campaign and lobbying outlays.