North Dakota banks are accusing rival credit unions of picking on their deposit insurance.

In a Dec. 16 letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the North Dakota Bankers Association griped that during a 12-month span credit unions had sponsored a campaign extolling the National Credit Union Insurance Fund at the expense of the banks' insurance fund.

"The credit unions and their league are engaging in an intentional and continuing program to besmirch the FDIC's Bank Insurance Fund so that bank customers are frightened into withdrawing their deposits from banks," bank association president James D. Schlosser wrote to FDIC Chairman Ricki Helfer.

In the early 1990s, the FDIC and the National Credit Union Administration agreed that the industries they regulate should not attack each other's insurance fund. Nevertheless, the issue has popped up several times since then.

According to Mr. Schlosser, the most recent abuse was an October article in North Dakota Going Places magazine describing the credit union fund as "the most reliable of the federal insurance funds."

Mr. Schlosser said it was sponsored by the North Dakota Credit Union League, but that group's president, Galen De Bey, said he was unaware of the article.

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