Gary Tolzmann is one of many bankers who believe Congress is not listening to the their side of the story in the credit union debate. But in Mr. Tolzmann's case, his senator is not reading either.
Mr. Tolzmann, president of Farmers Trust and Savings Bank in Spencer, Iowa, wrote recently to Sen. Tom Harkin to oppose a measure he had endorsed-HR 1151, which would ease membership restrictions on credit unions.
A return letter from the Iowa Democrat thanked the banker for his support of the bill. The response "confirmed my suspicion that they don't even read the letters from us," Mr. Tolzmann said. "These people spend all this time running for reelection instead of running the government."
A spokesman for Sen. Harkin's office, informed Wednesday of the mix-up, called it "an inadvertent clerical error" and said an apology letter would be sent.
Mr. Tolzmann said he plans to keep writing. Sen. Harkin, however, should not count on any support from Mr. Tolzmann come election time. "I didn't vote for him before, and for sure I'm not going to vote for him now," he said. -Laura Pavlenko Lutton
Consumers get more satisfaction at supermarkets than at community banks, according to the American customer satisfaction index.
Though community banks often tout their commitment to personalized service, the index for community banks slipped for the third straight year, to 71, down from 72 in 1997 and 74 in 1996. Meanwhile, supermarkets registered 74 and insurance agents remained at 77.
The index, meant to measure consumers' perception of goods and services, is a collaboration of the University of Michigan Business School in Ann Arbor, the American Society for Quality in Milwaukee, and Arthur Andersen.
Jack West, spokesman for the American Society of Quality, said consumer expectations have risen because of the strong economy. The continued decline in community banking, he said, "reflects the depersonalization of service." -- Matt Andrejczak