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Press Room
Wisconsin CU League News Release - 11/20/12


Despite bankers' rhetoric, credit unions are a boon to Wisconsin consumers


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Christine Henzig
Director of Communications
(262) 408-6019


Pewaukee, WI "Credit unions are not only fulfilling their mission of serving all their members regardless of income, but they're doing it despite tremendous disadvantages," Brett A. Thompson, President & CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League. "You'd never know that listening to the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA)."

Thompson was reacting to the WBA's latest misstatements about credit unions following regulators' assessment of Wisconsin credit unions' third quarter financial position. He says banks don't tell you that Wisconsin credit unions:


- Saved Wisconsin consumers $201 million in 2011. Credit union depositors saved more than $128 million on loans, earned more than $36.6 million on savings products and paid $36.5 million less in fees than if they had used a for-profit bank. WBA calls this a "subsidy."   Consumers call it real, significant savings.


- Earned seven top honors in seven years for helping members and communities. This long list of accolades stems from credit unions' REAL Solutions initiative, which helps consumers save and build wealth and assists 3,000 local causes and organizations each year. WBA calls this "lost funds." Credit unions call it investing in Wisconsin.


- Increased business lending without ANY taxpayer bailout. This is in contrast to banks that took taxpayer funds and reduced help for small businesses just when they needed help the most. Since the start of the recession, Wisconsin credit unions increased their business lending by 55% while Wisconsin banks shrank theirs by 2%. WBA calls this success by credit unions "abandoning their mission." Credit unions say it's doing what's right, regardless of profit.


"Credit unions do all this in spite of far greater regulation than banks, an arbitrary cap on business lending that applies only to credit unions, and the inability to raise capital by issuing stock, which only banks can do," Thompson explains.

"What's more, credit unions pay all the same taxes banks pay except corporate tax, which more than 80 Wisconsin banks don't pay either," Thompson said.  "Except credit unions have that single tax exemption because consumers, not shareholders, benefit from credit unions’ earnings."

“Banks just don't like the fact that by making consumers more financially successful, credit unions have become more successful," Thompson adds. He says that in 2012, Wisconsin credit unions saw the largest increase in checking accounts in over a decade, at 6.6%, surpassing the national growth rate.


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 via more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.3 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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