By Rose Oswald Poels
Calling attention to the need to level the playing field for credit unions and banks has been a top advocacy priority for WBA, and we are joining with our national trade association partners in a renewed effort to shed light on this issue. As we continue to see credit unions acquiring community banks here in Wisconsin (four acquisitions in recent years) and as a national trend, we are concerned about the increased tax burden on remaining banks and all other taxpayers. In 2020, credit unions in Wisconsin used their tax exemption to avoid paying $46,503,865 in federal income taxes and held a grand total of $49,499,980,974 in tax-free assets. WBA is actively advocating for credit union fairness to state legislators in Madison and to our members of the U.S. Congress — currently, credit unions do not pay income taxes at the state or federal level.
As you know, WBA has launched a publicity campaign, which includes billboard displays promoting Wisconsin banks and their positive impact on our state’s economy and communities. We are also working closely with our national counterparts at the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) on their awareness and advocacy initiatives.
ABA has updated the website for its Reform Credit Unions campaign, and ICBA has recently renewed its Wake Up and Take Action call for policymakers to examine the credit union tax exemption as the number of credit union-bank acquisitions passed 100. Both organizations’ sites include talking points, information about the impact by state, and a template to send a letter to your member(s) of Congress.
I encourage you to utilize the resources and tools linked above to reach out to your members of Congress and make your voice heard on credit union reform. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or our WBA Government Relations team (Lorenzo Cruz, VP – government relations and John Cronin, director – government relations) with any questions or if we can be of assistance.