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Hill Hikes Keep CU Tax Status In Focus
WASHINGTON (6/24/13)--Wisconsin and Arkansas credit union representatives kept the "Don't Tax My Credit Union!" message in front of the U.S. Congress last week as they met with their respective elected officials on Capitol Hill.

Click to view larger image Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) (center-left) poses in his Capitol Hill office with, from left to right, Landmark CU COO Eric Kase, Summit CU CLO Dan Milbrandt and Wisconsin CU League Vice President of Government Affairs Tom Liebe. (WCUL photo)
These Hike the Hill visits followed on the heels of earlier efforts from credit union leaders from North and South Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, Michigan and Texas.

"Reports I am receiving back from these states focus on the importance of emphasizing the message that credit unions are concerned about preserving their tax exemption. Even our staunch supporters must be reminded how important the exemption is to credit unions," Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said in this week's edition of The Cheney Report.

The credit union tax status was a top topic for the Wisconsin Credit Union League, but they also addressed other key credit union issues, including:
  • The role of credit unions in a future housing finance system;
  • Member business loans; and
  • Supplemental capital.
Regulatory relief was another topic of conversation, and one credit union representative, Dan Milbrandt of Summit CU, Madison, Wisc., told a member of Rep. Jim Sensennbrenner's (R-Wisc.) staff that burdensome regulations are creating issues for his credit union. "We're just simple little town lenders trying to make loans to people," he emphasized.

The Northwest Credit Union Association also reported positive meetings with legislators from Washington and Oregon, where the benefits of the credit union structure and the importance of the not-for-profit tax exemption were central themes.

"As these visits to the Hill are going on, the message is being echoed by a growing number of contacts by credit unions and their members," Cheney noted.

The groundbreaking "Don't Tax My Credit Union!" campaign, which uses traditional means and social media to spread a pro-credit union message, has resulted in more than 120,000 contacts with lawmakers. Facebook and Twitter have pushed this message to a potential 240,000 persons, and hundreds of thousands of others have visited CUNA's website, donttaxmycreditunion.org.

The first stage of the 2013 Hike the Hill season wrapped up with last week's visits, but more visits are being planned for September.

"It's important to remember that this is not a three- or six-month campaign--this is a long-term effort," Cheney said of the tax status advocacy effort. "While these initial numbers are outstanding, we must keep the messages flowing throughout the Ssmmer, and well into the Fall," Cheney added.

This week's Cheney Report also includes:
  • Details on CUNA testimony before Congress;
  • An update on loan participation and qualified mortgage regulations; and
  • A preview of this week's America's Credit Union Conference.
Each Friday, The Cheney Report provides a valuable window into CUNA's actions on behalf of member credit unions and reinforces the value of CUNA membership. To sign up for The Cheney Report, click the resource link below and use the "subscribe" tab on the right of the page.

Past issues of The Cheney Report are also archived on cuna.org.
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