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Bank, CU chiefs clash.

The topic for a morning Salt Lake City talk show may have been the impact of Bank Transfer Day, but the head of the Utah Bankers Association quickly converted the pre-Thanksgiving broadcast to an assault on the credit union tax exemption.

The "Good Morning Utah" segment on Salt Lake City's ABC affiliate, KTVX, featured Scott Simpson, president/CEO of the Utah Credit Union Association, and his counterpart, Howard Headlee, head of the UBA.

Simpson confided he was surprised but well-prepared for the banker attack with verbal counterpunches of his own hitting on what he said is a banking campaign to plunder consumers with gouging high fees contributing to the economic malaise.

The two engaged in a friendly but pointed exchange in the broadcast segments discussing Transfer Day reaction as well as the higher debit fees as advanced by large banks.

In his remarks, Headlee hit on the tax exemption as harmful to the state and national economy, citing a crisis in funding Utah schools that could be eased if CUs paid taxes.

Simpson countered that the banking lobby led by Headlee was seizing on another diversionary tactic to avoid real issues arising from Transfer Day and what it signifies in banks' failure to support the economy and instead add to stockholder profits.

"This was simply another example of the bankers' sleight of hand," charged Simpson accusing the UBA of using "school children as human shields" in its anti-CU fight.

Simpson said CUs have been striving mightily to aid financially strapped parents of school children, while banks' prime interest is in a healthy bottom line and enriching stockholders.

Headlee told viewers he "has no problem with Bank Transfer Day and moving of funds as consumers shop for their choice of financial institution, but when the nation is facing a budget crisis and we are having difficulty funding Utah schools, I think the credit union tax exemption is an issue the public needs to be made aware of." Headlee maintained that Transfer Day was not a pressing issue in Salt Lake City, and "we don't even have banks that have instituted the higher debit fees."

JIM RUBENSTEIN jrubenstein@cutimes.com
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Author:Rubenstein, Jim
Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Dec 7, 2011
Words:358
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