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Wisconsin CU League News Release - 5/17/12


Wisconsin Bankers Association flip-flops on credit unions' competence while fighting jobs bill


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Pewaukee, WI -  “So which is it? The Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) takes issue with credit unions’ competence and stability in a tough economy at the same time it argues credit unions aren’t competent enough to lend more money to Wisconsin’s small businesses,” said Brett Thompson, President & CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League.


He was reacting to WBA’s attack on credit unions’ first quarter success based on financial results reported by state regulators. Credit unions’ demonstrated competence presents a challenge to the WBA as it continues to fight the bi-partisan bill in Congress—S. 2231, the Small Business Jobs Act—that would increase credit union business lending to add $13 billion in new credit and 140,000 jobs nationally and $408 million in new credit in Wisconsin with over 4,400 new jobs, all at no cost to taxpayers. This jobs bill is essential to small businesses; close to 90% of them have cited credit access problems in recent years.

The chief talking point of bank lobbyists against the jobs bill is that credit unions are not competent enough to provide small business lending, even though nationally over the last 15 years credit union business loan loss rates have averaged .23% compared to .91% for banks. Wisconsin credit unions’ business loan loss rate has also been below that of banks for more than a decade.

“The WBA has to quit talking out of both sides of its mouth,” Thompson said. “The facts are clear: credit unions are successful at their real mission: serving all of their members—consumers and businesses—regardless of income. The first quarter figures demonstrate that credit unions have done well by meeting economic needs in Wisconsin communities. It’s time to pass the jobs bill and let them do more—a position supported by more than 30 progressive and conservative groups and 84% of Wisconsin voters, as well as 70% of banks recently surveyed. Let’s get it done.”

Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions that are owned by their members and do not have stockholders. Because they are not-for-profit, they return earnings to members in the form of more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.2 million Wisconsin residents belong to credit unions, of which nearly half are open to the local community. Find a credit union to join by visiting The League’s REAL Solutions Scorecard explains how credit unions returned more than $201 million to their members in 2011 and served their communities regardless of profit. It is available at

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