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'Don't Tax My CU' Efforts Gear Up On All Fronts
WASHINGTON (7/16/13)--
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Credit unions aren't taking the attacks on their tax status sitting down.  The groundswell of activity in the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaign is gathering speed as credit unions, members, leagues and the Credit Union National Association deliver that message to lawmakers.
 
CUNA and the leagues have made more than 336,802 contacts with lawmakers on the issue, as of July 12. Credit unions and members are using CUNA's and the leagues' resources and social media sites including the Don't Tax My CU website, Facebook and the micro-video site Vine, and share the Don't Tax message through Twitter, @CUNAadvocacy and the hashtag, #DontTaxMy CU.
 
Page views on the Don't Tax My Credit Union website more than doubled between June 10 and July 12--to 429,128, while unique visitors more than doubled to 197,176. More than 2,000 credit unions report they have had at least one person take action on the Don't Tax campaign, said CUNA. More than 434,000 impressions have been made on the site's Facebook and Twitter.
 
Click to view larger image Staff at the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas sported Don't Tax My Credit Union T-shirts early Monday morning next to CUAD's CU on the Road vehicle (The Memo July 15). From left: Kaitlyn Hardy, Steve Rahrich, Jeff Olson, Shawn Brummer and Karla Clark. Several credit unions in South Dakota ran out of Don't' Tax postcards and were asking for more, CUAD said. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas)
Twenty-three members of Congress are followers of Social Media for CUNA Advocacy. Its Facebook page added 187 more followers--in two days--to reach 2,296, while Twitter totaled 2,405--an increase of 107 followers in just two days. And 14 media outlets have reported on the tax battle.
 
Among the recent efforts:
  • PrimeWay FCU, Houston, Texas, took the "Don't Tax My Credit Union message to YouTube, noting that taxing credit unions "won't make a dent in the budget deficit but will only hurt hard working Americans and small businesses who depend on credit unions."  It features several people urging Congress not to tax them, including one who urges ",Don't tax me, bro." To view it, use the link.
  • Shannon Webster, vice president of marketing, Town and Country CU, Minot, N.D., tweeted that she dropped off nearly 430 don't tax postcards at congressional offices in Minot Wednesday, said the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (The Memo July 15). The office "seemed surprised when I handed them each a big stack. I think these mailings will definitely have an impact," she told CUAD. And Jared Conkling, a lead teller at Service First FCU, Sioux Falls, S.D., worked with marketing staff to create a Drive-up Window Tube Flyer to urge members to stop in the lobby to sign postcards.
  • In the July 8 issue of Banker and Tradesman, Dan Egan, president/CEO of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, the New Hampshire Credit Union League and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, noted credit unions have successfully defended their tax exemption since the earliest days of the movement. "We were set up as a not-for-profit. It's a cooperative." He pointed out the vital role the credit union alternative plays to members and society at large and said that during the financial crisis, "when the nation's major banks imploded, credit unions continued their lending and maintained the flow of money to consumers and small businesses."
  • Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C., sent more than 3,700 e-mails to Congress between June 3 and July 11--more e-mails than in some states. "This issue is so tremendous to our industry that we had to make this a priority," Coastal FCU CEO Chuck Purvis told the North Carolina Credit Union League (The Weekly Conversation July 12).
  • Premier FCU, Geensboro, N.C., CEO Lori Thompson said the credit union began e-mails right away. "We're going to have internet PCs available in every branch. We'll have signs, handouts with bullet points and we're adding tags to our name badges to prompt members to inquire about this issue," she told the league. "Whether it's a member of Congress, credit union members or credit union staff, it's necessary for everyone to understand the value that credit unions provide and that changing our structure will negatively impact how we are able to benefit our members."
  • Association of Vermont Credit Unions President Joe Bergeron wrote a letter to Vermont senators Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders last week that said eliminating credit unions' tax exemption "would represent a tax increase on America's 96 million credit union members, and would ultimately lead to the elimination of credit unions. Too many Vermonters and Americans rely on credit unions to help them save for their dreams and borrow for their needs to let credit unions become unfortunate casualties of tax reform" (Newslines Express July 12).  A number of Vermont credit unions have included information in their newsletters, on their sites, in e-mails as well as on stuffers and posters and banner ads, said AVCU. Several have posted the Don't Tax video on their Facebook pages.
  • Credit unions were the topic of discussion Monday on WTYM AM 1380, a radio station in Kittanning, Pa. Pennsylvania Credit Union Association Director of Communications Diane Powell talked about the benefits of credit unions and the Don't Tax initiative (Life is a Highway July 15).
  • Even credit union service providers are supporting credit unions' tax status.  San Diego-based Xpress Data Inc. is providing free e-mail blast communications for its client credit unions to support the Don't' Tax initiative. It also is providing discounts on statement stuffers. XDI President Mike Cooper said the company shares the industry's concern over its tax status and wants to assist in the mobilization of credit union members. "This initiative from CUNA is unprecedented in credit unions' continued effort to fight and remain tax exempt--part of which truly sets our industry apart from the bigger financial counterparts," he said. "This is an important fight and we want to do our part to help it succeed."


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