By Wisconsin Bankers Association President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels
Yesterday, a deal was announced that Wings Financial Credit Union, Minnesota’s largest credit union, will acquire Wisconsin-based Settlers Bank. According to the release, the transaction, which requires approval by state and federal regulators, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023. At that time, Settlers Bank locations will be re-branded as Settlers Best Credit Union, a division of Wings Financial Credit Union.
Credit unions are continuing their aggressive behavior in Wisconsin using taxpayer dollars to purchase profitable, tax-paying banks. For the seventh time in the state of Wisconsin, a Wisconsin bank is being acquired by a credit union. Settlers Bank, located in Windsor, just outside of Madison, is selling to Wings Financial Credit Union, which has over $8 billion in assets. This is yet another profitable, business-focused bank located in an affluent part of the state, being purchased by a credit union taking more tax revenue off the state and federal tax rolls. If this acquisition closes, Wings Financial Credit Union will be the largest credit union doing business in Wisconsin. Recently, the deal announced earlier this year of Summit Credit Union buying Commerce State Bank, headquartered in West Bend, closed, costing the state over $1 million in annual tax revenue.
Wisconsin is quickly becoming a target for these acquisitions because existing laws in Iowa and Minnesota prevent such acquisitions. Much of this election season has been focused on social and fiscal responsibility. It is time for large credit unions (Wisconsin has 14 with assets over $1 billion each) to start supporting government social services by paying state and federal income taxes.