As an executive banking officer of Zions First National Bank, I'm pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision regarding the AT&T Family Credit Union case. The enormous effort made by the industry's banks and the American Bankers Association and the banks involved in the lawsuit was justified. It is important to note that the Supreme Court, only after careful deliberation and consideration of all the facts, determined that a credit union cannot serve multiple, unrelated groups that do not have the necessary "common bond."
My concern at this time is that credit unions and their members, acting in their own self-interest, will now approach Congress for an "emergency" legislative solution to this issue. They will likely describe it as a "crisis" that "requires swift action" with a threat (implied or expressed) that credit unions will "go out of business" or will "cease to exist," causing millions of individuals to "lose their money." I urge you to do as the Supreme Court did: Carefully deliberate and consider all the facts. There is no "emergency." The Court's decision affects only a small percentage of credit unions. Further, I understand that the ABA, and probably others, have proposed alternative legislation to address inequities and protect depositors, members and investors. Do not rush into an emotionally charged, one-sided decision that could adversely affect our industry and its customers of many years.Despite what you may hear from some circles, banks do not seek to eliminate competing credit unions. Rather, we expect only that you will apply the same rules to all institutions that either call themselves banks, act like banks or appear to want to be banks. As you know, there is a credit union in our state that is larger than 90 percent of the banks in Utah, having grown to more than three times its asset size merely a decade ago, yet is afforded favorable tax and regulatory treatment. This is simply unfair.
The appropriate resolution of our dispute with the credit unions is important to me, to my family and to my bank. You may never have a better opportunity to consider all of the issues and arrive at a rational, cohesive direction for the future of financial services in this country. I am confident that the legislative process, including thorough committee discussions, can produce an equitable solution. Please don't let the emotional, irrational appeals deter you from following that important process.
Thank you very much for representing the interests of the people of Utah.
Salt Lake City