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Wis. governor vetoes bill extending CUs car sales
MADISON, Wis. (7/1/09)--Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle Monday vetoed a measure contained in the state’s budget bill that would have allowed Educators CU in Racine to continue its auto sales business, which was under attack by state auto dealers. “Naturally, we’re disappointed with the veto,” Jim Henderson, Educators CU senior vice president told News Now. “We’re going to talk with local legislators to see if there are options for another bill.” The Wisconsin Credit Union League talked with Educators CU and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions about pursuing this option. Doyle also vetoed several provisions that would have been harmful to credit unions. (See RELATED: "Gov. Doyle comes through for CUs, says Wisconsin league.") Educators CU had been ordered to divest its auto business in April 2010 by the Office of Credit Unions (OCU) after the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealer Association complained to regulators. The OCU initially ruled that the State of Wisconsin Credit Union Statutes, Chapter 186, allows credit unions to own only car leasing services, not retail car sales. The credit union appealed the ruling and came to an agreement with the regulator, which allowed 18 months for the credit union to divest its auto sales business (News Now Dec. 3, 2008). The dealers association filed a court petition to overturn the agreement. The Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee included an amendment in the budget bill--which Doyle vetoed this week--that would have allowed the credit union to continue operating its used-car auto lot in Racine County if it passed. Local auto dealers don’t like Educators’ auto sales business because of the competition, Henderson said, but the credit union focuses on service rather than just selling a car. For instance, Educators tries to match its members with cars that are best for their needs, and will refer them to another dealership if the credit union can’t provide them with the right vehicle, Henderson said. “It’s satisfying a need more than selling,” he said. Educators established its auto dealership to provide car-buying resources and used-car sales to members and consumers in 2002. Educators has $1.1 billion in assets.
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