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Consumer Savvy | BRIEFLY

Credit Unions Push for Stalled Bill

July 01, 1998|Associated Press

Every day, another 1,000 working people seeking to join credit unions are turned away because of a recent Supreme Court decision and the Senate's failure to act, credit union industry officials said. As a result, they must pay more for loans and services at banks or use check-cashing stores that charge high fees and interest rates, the industry officials said as they announced a nationwide ad campaign on cable TV. In April, the House approved legislation that would override the court's February ruling by allowing federally chartered credit unions to continue to include more than one group in their memberships. The bill passed one Senate committee but has been stalled in the full chamber by Republicans who have promised to try to strip a provision that would subject credit unions to community-lending requirements similar to those for banks. "We are at a very, very critical stage in this battle," said Daniel Mica, head of the Credit Union National Assn. Virginia McGuire, a spokeswoman for the American Bankers Assn., said the credit union officials' statements were "very misleading." Banks do not stand "between consumers and financial services," she said. A new survey cited by the bankers group shows that 56% of bank customers say they pay $3 or less a month for banking services. Bankers have complained about the $300-billion credit union industry's exemption from federal taxes, which would be retained by the legislation.

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