The Credit Union National Association, a trade group that represents credit unions, is launching a new campaign to protect its members' federal tax-exempt status.
The campaign, "Don't Tax My Credit Union," is intended to rally consumers who belong to credit unions to lobby Congress to preserve the federal tax exemption that credit unions enjoy as not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives.
The campaign will include a nationwide action alert to nearly 7,000 affiliated state and federally chartered credit unions, a consumer-engagement website, a short animated video about credit unions' tax status, a national webinar for credit union executives, social media activities and an advocacy "toolkit" for credit unions.
In a statement, CUNA CEO Bill Cheney said the effort was urgent because Congress is formulating policy now.
"It's rare that credit unions call upon their 96 million members to take action, but our members will be the best spokespeople we have, especially on an issue as vital to our future as this," Cheney said in a news release.
The campaign intends to argue that taxing credit unions will, in effect, tax credit union members since credit unions are cooperatively owned by their members.
Meanwhile, community banks are again lobbying against federal legislation that would let credit unions expand their business lending activities.
Credit unions currently cannot allocate more than 12.25 percent of their assets to business loans. They want that cap doubled to 27.5 percent of assets.
The Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade group that represents community banks, claims the expanded business lending authority would decrease tax revenues; widen federal, state and local budget deficits; increase risks to the U.S. financial system; and could lead to more failed credit unions.
"The vast majority of credit unions are nowhere near their business lending limit, and more than 70 percent have no member business loans at all, which calls into question the need for the controversial legislation," the ICBA said in a statement.
The community banks blocked similar legislation last year.
Do you own a business? Would you go to a credit union for a business loan?
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