Sticks and stones will break my bones but letters will never hurt me

Yesterday, CUNA and NAFCU sent a letter to Senator Orrin Hatch responding to the escalating tirade of the Banking Industry against “large” credit unions. I put large in quotes of course because a handful of banks in Manhattan hold more assets than the entire credit union industry combined and that’s not even talking about the other 49 states. Anyway, in many ways the banker’s latest attack is a sign of credit union success, not weakness.

Think of it this way, we just had the biggest tax overhaul since 1986 and not a single credit union issue gained serious traction. This is pure speculation on my part, but I view this latest round of banking recriminations as nothing more or less than a political consolation prize combined with a well-timed tirade to muddy up CUNA’s GAC. Let’s not let the bankers succeed. There are too many other important issues for the industry’s Grassroots lobbyists to get side tracked on debating tax issues.

The consolation prize was a letter from retiring octogenarian and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch questioning whether some credit unions have grown too big for their mission. For the record, in the heyday of the Regan era, Orrin Hatch was one of my favorite Senators. He was a thinking man’s conservative who wasn’t afraid to work with Democrats like Ted Kennedy do get stuff done. In short, he was the type of Senator who would get primaried out of today’s Republican Party. The letter penned under his name to NCUA is a strange letter to be sending out after your committee completed a tax overhaul.

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