Below is an excerpt from an opinion article written by Brendon T. Wilkinson, President of First Community Bank, Milton; and Craig O'Leary, Executive Vice President of Farmers & Merchants Bank of Orfordville.

The Nov. 19 story, “Credit unions rising,” failed to mention the major difference between credit unions and banks: taxes. Why should a family of four pay more in taxes than a $600-million financial institution? That is the size of Blackhawk Community Credit Union (BCCU), yet it is exempt from federal and state income taxes. This type of corporate welfare is not good for Wisconsin.

Regulatory oversight is also far less for credit unions. For example, banks must submit a 62-page call report with more than 1,000 data points, yet a call report for any size credit union is just 29 pages.

Banks are also subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, which means we are examined to ensure we serve all the needs of our community. The regulation requires a public notice, and our banks’ public file is accessible to see how we are meeting their needs. No such oversight exists for credit unions.

Read more in the Janesville Gazette.