Removing Barriers Blog

Chief Advocacy Officer writes to policymakers on Capitol Hill highlighting the credit union difference
Posted October 25, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Yesterday, CUNA's Chief Advocacy Officer wrote to policymakers and their staff on Capitol Hill highlighting the credit union difference and rebut inaccurate bank claims. 

The full email to Congress is below:

The bankers are at it again: complaining about the credit union tax status and how credit unions are using their structure and mission to serve their members. Their complaints aren't new but that doesn't mean they can go unanswered.
Credit unions work hard in the community day in and day out. They're tax-exempt based on their structure as not-for-profit financial cooperatives and the mission that Congress gave them: to promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes. They earn this status every day through the service and investment they make to their members and communities.  

The banks say there's no longer any difference between credit unions and banks, but that couldn't be further from the truth. And we're proud of the credit union difference:  

  • Credit unions paid $5.1 billion in taxes in 2018. Meanwhile, according to the FDIC, the bankers received a $30 billion tax break last year, funneling most of this to investors, not customers.  
  • Credit unions have opened 1,600+ branches since 2004. Since the financial crisis, banks have closed 11,500 branches, creating 86 new banking deserts. Many of the community banks rushing to cash out their portfolios turn to credit unions to ensure their communities are served by a local financial services partner. 
  • Since 2014, bank assets have grown by $3.5 trillion. The entire credit union system holds only $1.8 trillion in assets. Banks like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo each hold more in assets than every credit union combined.  
  • Banks, not credit unions, have racked up $300 billion in fines for anti-consumer behavior since 2009, according to Barclays & Capital Performance Group. 
  • Not-for-profit credit unions provide $16 billion in financial benefit annually through reduced fees, lower loan rates, higher returns, and competitive pressure on banks.

There's a reason that 115 million Americans—your constituents—have chosen to make credit unions their financial partner. Thank you for continuing to put your trust in credit unions to serve them and uplift your community.