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ICBA Joins Other Banking Trade Groups in Credit Union Coordinating Council

Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2004) - Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) announced today that it has decided to unite with fellow trade associations to address the growing credit union competitiveness issue-specifically, that bank-like credit unions remain tax-exempt.

The Inter-Trade Credit Union Coordinating Council includes ICBA, the American Bankers Association and America's Community Bankers. The council will coordinate the individual efforts of the three associations, facilitate communication among the groups, provide a forum for sharing ideas and assist in specific joint efforts.

ICBA and the two other trade groups are engaged in campaigns to call congressional and public attention to the activities of bank-like credit unions, their exemption from taxes, their exemption from Community Reinvestment Act requirements and their proposals to expand credit union powers and fields of membership.

"As to the matter of unfair credit union competition, it is imperative that all national banking associations work together for the common good of the industry," said ICBA Chairman Dale L. Leighty, the chairman and president of First National Bank of Las Animas, Colo. "By coordinating our efforts, we will stand united before the Congress and the Administration on this critical long-term issue."

"Influential leaders are beginning to talk about the elephant in the room," said ABA Chairman Ken Fergeson. "Namely, aggressive credit unions that are trying to blend in with the furniture while gobbling up the hors d'oeuvres at taxpayers' expense." Fergeson is also chairman of NbanC, Altus, Okla.

"Leveling the playing field with bank-like credit unions is a priority for all three trade groups and our community bank members across the country," said ACB Chairman William W. Zuppe. "We believe it is critical for us to better coordinate and communicate a clear and cogent message to legislators: 'Credit unions that want to play like banks, should pay like banks,'" said Zuppe, who is also chairman and CEO of Sterling Savings Bank, Spokane, Wash.

With the other trade groups, ICBA has committed staff and banker resources to resolve the credit union issue and agreed that political fight would be a long, arduous task. The groups noted, however, that progress was being seen in public statements by the House Ways and Means chairman and the chairman and vice chairman of the FDIC.

About ABA
The American Bankers Association brings together all categories of banking institutions to best represent the interests of this rapidly changing industry. Its membership - which includes community, regional and money center banks and holding companies, as well as savings associations, trust companies and savings banks - makes ABA the largest banking trade association in the country. ABA can be found on the World Wide Web at www.aba.com.

About ACB
America's Community Bankers represents the nation's community banks. ACB members, whose aggregate assets total more than $1 trillion, pursue progressive, entrepreneurial and service-oriented strategies in providing financial services to benefit their customers and communities.