Running for reelection in Iowa, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has peppered his Iowa district with billboards.

The ads feature a huge picture of the Republican incumbent with a simple message: "Honest. Congressman Jim Leach."

His opponent, former state Sen. Bob Rush, shunned billboards in favor of television spots. But Rep. Leach's campaign has spent roughly $10,000 to rent 26 boards in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and a handful of smaller towns.

No precious funds were spent on the photo, however - it's the standard mug shot Rep. Leach makes available for newspapers, including American Banker.

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The National Association of Federal Credit Unions asked President Bill Clinton and his GOP rival Bob Dole whether the industry should remain tax- exempt and the National Credit Union Administration should remain independent.

In written responses, both men praised the industry and backed the tax exemption and NCUA's independence. The only real difference arose when each candidate was asked whether he is a member of a credit union.

President Clinton said he belongs to the White House Federal Credit Union. Former Senate Majority Leader Dole, on the other hand, admitted he hasn't joined the movement - yet.

"I understand the White House has one, and once I am president, I would like to consider becoming a member," he noted.

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The Consumer Federation of America has endorsed 108 House and Senate incumbents - all Democrats - for reelection.

On the list are 18 of the party's 23 House Banking Committee members. The most surprising omission: the panel's ranking Democrat, Henry Gonzalez, who has long been a favorite of consumer groups.

Is it possible that a man whose Internet home page includes a file titled "Top 10 Consumer Rip-Offs" could fail to win the group's endorsement? Yes. But that's simply because the Texas Democrat failed to turn in his homework. Though his voting record qualifies him for endorsement, Rep. Gonzalez didn't complete a survey on consumer issues that the group also required.

The group's legislative counsel, Bradley Stillman, lauded the committee's once and perhaps future chairman. "In the last couple of years, his record has been outstanding," Mr. Stillman said. "He's certainly been a champion on important core banking issues."

For the first time he could remember, Mr. Stillman said, no Republican incumbent qualified for the consumer group's endorsement.

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The Girl Scouts think that Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Ricki Helfer is a nice cookie. She was reelected to a three-year term on the group's national board of directors during its national council session in Fort Worth this month.

Ms. Helfer, 51, was a Scout when she was a girl, then became an adult volunteer. Her career definitely has prepared her for her Scout assignment: She serves on the group's finance committee.

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Donna H. Cunninghame, who spent three years as chief financial officer of the Resolution Trust Corp., has landed another government job. President Bill Clinton named her CFO of the Corporation for Public Service, which operates AmeriCorps and the National Senior Service Corps.

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