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Activists lobby Congress on credit union policy priorities 


Wisconsin Activists took advantage of time with the Wisconsin Congressional delegation during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference. Taxation, regulatory reform, supplemental capital, privacy and business lending were all part of the discussions.


More than 50 credit union Activists from Wisconsin traveled to Washington, D.C. to share stories of social responsibility and discuss issues affecting Wisconsin credit unions and their 2.3 million members. In these meetings, Activists asked that Congress:

1. Protect credit unions' current corporate tax status. Credit unions pay millions each year in payroll, sales and property taxes. The sole exemption from corporate tax is based on credit unions' cooperative structure that returns earnings to members, not shareholders. The Scorecard, which was shared with each office, explains how Wisconsin credit unions are socially responsible and used returned earnings to save members almost $1 billion since 2007.


2. Support the Financial Institution Examination Fairness Reform Act. The recent financial reforms under the Dodd-Frank Act have subjected credit unions to an avalanche of more than 120 regulatory requirements from at least 15 different federal agencies between 2008 and 2012. Activists noted that credit unions did not cause the problems that led to the recent financial crisis, yet the tremendous burden that has stemmed from new compliance requirements affecting mortgages, remittances and more applies to them as well. They also shared their concerns about the exam process, as up to a quarter of all U.S. credit unions feel a need to appeal a supervisory decision.


3. Co-sponsor and support H.R. 719 – Capital Access for Small Businesses and Jobs Act. All other U.S. depository institutions and most credit unions in other countries are permitted various forms of alternate or supplemental capital. While credit unions are currently well capitalized, they may need to raise capital in the future when the outlook for net income – the source of retained earnings – is not particularly strong.


4. Co-sponsor and support H.R. 749 – Eliminate the Privacy Notice Confusion Act. Credit unions send millions of privacy notices to members annually. Most consumers ignore or pay little attention to these mailings. This legislation would instead require a privacy notification be sent to a member or customer only when the policy changes, making notifications more meaningful. Activists were successful in gaining support from members of the Wisconsin delegation.


5. Co-sponsor and Support H.R. 688 – The Credit Union Small Business Job Creation Act. Activists continued the discussion of how credit unions have not been able to meet the entire demand for small loans even though they increased lending during the recession by 55% while banks decreased theirs by 2%. This legislation, identical to the resolution introduced last session, can stimulate the economy with no cost to taxpayers and no expansion of government.


Questions? Contact Sarah Wainscott at (608) 514-0086.

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