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CUNA: Bank Tax Rhetoric Tired, But Threat's Real
WASHINGTON (6/25/13)--Banks have ramped up their attacks on the credit union tax status, taking their credit union-bashing arguments to President Barack Obama and administration officials as members of the U.S. Congress are preparing to develop comprehensive tax refrom legislation.

The banks urged Obama to examine the credit union tax status in letters sent last week.

This latest attack serves as clear message calling for continued vigilance and strong credit union advocacy in favor of the credit union tax status, Credit Union National Association Executive Vice President of Government Affairs John Magill noted Monday. He added that the bank attacks will only add fire to the current fight by credit unions and their members to preserve the credit union tax status and the public-policy benefits it provides for all Americans.

CUNA on Monday also reiterated that the reasons for supporting and maintaining the credit union tax status are as valid today as when they were first established by the U.S. Congress in 1934.

"Credit unions are exempt from the federal income tax because they are not-for-profit and member-owned, member controlled. Unlike banks that maximize profits for a small group of investors, credit unions exist to serve their members, including working families, small businesses, and the local community.

"Because they return benefits to members, they are able to offer higher returns on savings, lower rate on loans, and most importantly, low or no fees--and these benefits, combined, result in more than $8 billion in direct financial benefits each year to the 96 million Americans who belong to credit unions," Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said. Donovan said the banks have come up with nothing new in their tired rhetoric against credit unions.

And, he noted, credit union membership totals nationwide are increasing as millions of new members are seeing the positive benefits of credit unions.

Magill noted that the bank lobby usually amplifies their attacks on the credit union tax status when they want to divert attention from some problem of their own.

To oppose these and other tax status attacks, a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign led by CUNA and the leagues continues to encourage 96 million credit union members nationwide to present a unified message to members of congress: Don't Tax My Credit Union!

Credit union advocates have delivered the message to members of Congress more than 135,000 times since mid-May, with the help of CUNA/league communication tools. The innovative campaign also uses newer media vehicles such as Facebook, a Twitter handle @CUNAadvocacy, and hashtag, #DontTaxMyCU, and social media micro-video site Vine. Around 300,000 individuals have used Facebook and Twitter to spread the message through social media.

CUNA has also developed a reformatted version of its tax advocacy toolkit to help credit unions and their members spread this message.

Actively participating in credit union grassroots activities and the political process is one tenet of CUNA's Unite for Good. Through Unite for Good, CUNA has called on credit unions to rally together to help create a nation in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."

For more CUNA/league advocacy resources, and more on Unite for Good, use the resource links.

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