WASHINGTON (1/25/13, UPDATED 11:20 a.m. ET)--As if there were any doubts about what the banks are up to this year, an American Bankers Association lobbyist was quoted today by Bloomberg BNA that a "chief" goal for banks in 2013 is to push for legislation to change or eliminate the credit union federal tax status.
The article quotes ABA Executive Vice President James Ballentine as saying the group will be talking to federal lawmakers about statutory changes and, if that fails, pushing for congressional hearings, a Government Accountability Office study, or "a variety" of other means to go on the attack.
Protecting the credit union tax exemption tops the Credit Union National Association's list of 2013 priorities.
Under the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, federal and state-chartered credit unions are exempt from federal income tax because they are cooperatives operated for and by their members, and because credit union shares are essentially members' deposits. The tax status has been re-affirmed periodically by the U.S. Congress and is supported by many lawmakers.
As recently as yesterday, on a call to state credit union league presidents, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney reiterated that preserving the tax status of credit unions is CUNA's top priority and will be the number one issue during CUNA's upcoming Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) here from Feb. 24-28.
Capitol Hill visits on key credit union issues are at the core of CUNA's GAC, which draws thousands of credit union representatives from across the country to Washington, D.C. each year.
"The congressional agenda for the year is unclear at this point but some expect it will include comprehensive tax reform discussions. As part of that process, the credit union tax status is likely to be examined and could come under significant threat--particularly since we know the banks will continue their paid media and lobbying barrage urging credit union taxation.
"Protecting the credit union tax exemption tops CUNA's list of ten 2013 priorities for good reason," Cheney said.