Credit Union National Association Takes Fight to Banking Industry

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Associated Press

CINCINNATI _ The association representing the nation's credit unions is taking the offensive against the banking industry, claiming banks in several states are trying to eliminate competition.

The Credit Union National Association said Monday at its annual convention here it will be more assertive in answering "harassment" from commercial banks.

"What banks are trying to do is prevent people from having the credit union option," said association President Ralph Swoboda.

The dispute concerns the expansion of credit unions beyond traditional groups such as company employees, to encompass broader groups, such as residents of an entire community or county.

Banks claim the credit unions can provide many of the same products but have less regulatory burden. Credit unions claim that banks want to eliminate competition.

The banking industry has taken legal action in Montana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Utah, North Carolina, Michigan and Colorado to prevent credit unions from expanding their groups, or to nullify credit union memberships approved by state regulators, the association said.

Swoboda said his group may challenge bank charter applications in response.

"We're not trying to pick a fight with the whole banking industry," he said. …