A tiny Las Vegas bank is dismissing charges of questionable lending practices being leveled by Nevada's largest labor union.
Edward Jamison, chief executive of Community Bank of Nevada, said accusations by the Culinary Workers Union are a political ploy related to the union's dispute with Margaret Elardi, one of the bank's directors.
Ms. Elardi, proprietor of the Frontier Hotel and Gambling Hall, has been involved in a battle with the union since 1991.
The union has asked the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to delay an application filed by Community Bank of Nevada, which is less than a year old, to open a branch in Las Vegas. The union claims the $63 million-asset bank is violating the state's limit on lending to a single borrower and is violating the Community Reinvestment Act.
Mr. Jamison said that although the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco accepted the application June 13, the union's request to review the application has added a month to the process.
The effort by Culinary Workers exemplifies a trend: unions applying pressure on managements by focusing on board interlocks with other companies.
Nevada Banking Commissioner L. Scott Walshaw said his office had been aware of the union's allegations before its most recent review of the bank but found no violations. He declined to say more about the matter, citing confidentiality requirements.
Mr. Jamison called the union's complaints "unfounded."
"The truth has no merit to them," he said. "What they do is take facts and reach tortuous conclusions."
The claim that the bank isn't meeting CRA requirements is ironic, Mr. Jamison said, because the branch would be near some of the lowest-income tracts in Las Vegas.
Mr. Jamison also rebutted the charges that his bank is exceeding the 25% state limit on loans to a single borrower. He said it has securitized and sold many of the loans in question.
Union officials question that claim, saying they can't find any record of such loan sales.
But revealing such records "would be a breach of our confidentiality with the borrower," Mr. Jamison said. "They're asking for information that is not permissible for a bank to reveal."