CUNA Op-Ed in Star-Ledger: Taxing Credit Unions Would Hurt All

Posted by Marissa Anema Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:09:00 AM

With Congress eyeing up the tax-exempt status of organizations as it moves ahead with tax reform plans, some groups—including credit unions—are looking out for the interests of hardworking Americans in this debate, writes Patricia Wesenberg, chair of CUNA, in an op-ed column published on the Star-Ledger Web site. 

Wesenberg points out that banks view Congress’ move to wipe the slate clean on tax exemptions as an opportunity to “saddle their nonprofit credit union competitors with new taxes." 

“Consumers should hope that the big banks don’t succeed,” Wesenberg writes. “New taxes on credit unions would pick the pockets not just of their 96 million predominantly middle-class customers, but those of all Americans—by reducing competition in the financial services sector.”

She goes on to compare the similarities in the services of banks and credit unions and also points out the stark contrast in fees, interest rates, philosophy, and structure.

Honing in on New Jersey, she points out that credit unions in the Garden State delivered some $45 million in direct financial benefits to their 1.1 million members last year. “But those benefits would vanish if credit unions were to lose their nonprofit status and be forced to pay federal income taxes.” The tax would essentially force credit unions into becoming for-profit banks, and fees and interest rates would go up, not just at credit unions, but across the board. “The economic impact of such taxes would be disastrous,” she writes. 

Wesenberg concludes the op-ed by calling on lawmakers to not “unwittingly line the pockets of the banking industry at the expense of average Americans” with taxes on credit unions. “It’s time to ensure that doesn’t happen.” 

Wesenberg’s column in the Star-Ledger is available in its entirety here

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