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Cheney briefs CFA on CUco-op difference
WASHINGTON (3/21/11)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President Bill Cheney last Friday discussed the value of credit
Click to view larger image Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney discusses the value of credit unions to consumers with Consumer Federation of America's (CFA) consumer advocates, in Washington for CFA's Consumer Assembly. (Photo provided by CUNA)
unions to consumers as part of an orientation on co-ops that the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) arranged for a group of its key state and local advocates in Washington to attend CFA’s Consumer Assembly. Cheney emphasized that having a cooperative financial services option in the marketplace “means consumers have an institution that gives them a voice, that provides great value, and that offers stellar service.” And they have a long history of doing so, he added. Cheney held up a copy of the very first issue of what is now Consumer Reports magazine, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and pointed out the inaugural issue had an article written by credit union pioneer Dora Maxwell on the benefits of credit unions to consumers. Cheney explained how credit unions as co-ops answer to their members, not outside stockholders. He cited CUNA research showing consumers saved $6.5 billion last year using credit unions rather than banks due to credit unions' better rates and lower fees, a figure that likely would be even higher if the interest-rate environment for savings was not so low. “And credit unions’ presence in the marketplace creates competitive pressure that helps bank customers, too,” he said. That savings amounts to about $3.5 billion a year, for a total savings to consumers of $10 billion a year. He also thanked CFA for its consistent support of credit unions' tax status. Noting that tax reform is an emerging issue in Congress, Cheney said credit unions “have a very good story to tell about the exemption they receive.” He also explained that revoking the exemption would effectively turn credit unions into banks, depriving consumers of a cooperative choice for their financial services. “If you tax credit unions, you eliminate credit unions--it’s game over,” he said. Also presenting at the session, organized by CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck, were National Cooperative Business Association CEO Paul Hazen and American Public Power Association chief lobbyist Joe Nipper.

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