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Ohio CUs seek public deposits law banks oppose it
COLUMBUS, Ohio (10/19/09)--The Ohio Credit Union League is working to change a state law so credit unions can begin accepting deposits from public entities, which bankers oppose. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus), would make credit unions eligible depositories for communities, schools and other public systems. The bill is expected to be introduced “soon,” John Kozlowski, Ohio league counsel, told News Now. This is the second time the league has tried to pass legislation to help credit unions accept public deposits. The last attempt was in 2004. The league is looking to help credit unions accept public deposits because a lot of local communities, schools, municipalities and townships have come to the state’s credit unions looking to do business. “The credit unions are being approached [by public entities], and they want to serve the community,” Kozlowski said. Many public entities also want to diversify their deposits because of concerns regarding deposit insurance, Kozlowski said. The league also believes that public entities should have a choice when making deposits and should not be restricted by an “archaic” law, Kozlowski said. He estimated that there are about 20 or more states that allow credit unions to accept public deposits. Banks argue that credit unions should not be able to accept public deposits because they are tax-exempt. “Credit unions do pay taxes but not the same as bankers,” Kozlowski said. He noted that credit unions’ tax exemption is structured differently because it is a nonprofit organization. Credit unions pay rural property taxes, which benefit schools and towns. Also, there are nonprofit hospitals and nursing homes in Ohio that receive money from the state through a cooperative structure, he added. The league is hopeful that the bill will pass and it will continue to work on the issue. “It’s important that entities want to keep their money where credit unions are,” Kozlowski said. “Credit unions make a difference in Ohio citizens’ lives.”


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