Wall Street Journal Lets Bankers Spin Untruths
I could not agree more with Cary Anderson's letter that ran in the April 5 issue in response to the Wall Street Journal's March 7 article, "Bankers Struggle to Contain Growth of Credit Unions." I wonder how many other letters telling the real truths about credit unions that the editors of the Wall Street Journal chose to ignore? Instead, they elected to portray Harris Simmons of the ABA as someone who tells the truth backed up by all of his "rigorous, yet offbeat analysis" of credit unions. His information and so-called research comes across as third-rate fiction. Here is what I presented to the Wall Street Journal: Dear Editor: I wonder what brand of baloney is being served in Utah by Mr. Harris H. Simmons of the American Bankers Association as outlined in the March 7, 2006 WSJ article ("Bankers Struggle To Contain Growth Of Credit Unions" by Bernard Wysocki, Jr.)? Certainly not a brand that anyone should buy. I read the following quote several times to make sure that I understood it correctly -"my bank paid $263.4 million in state and federal taxes last year," Mr. Simmons says, "Credit unions paid zip." The last part of the quotation that credit unions paid nothing in state and federal taxes is simply not true. Before spreading hypocrisy and producing smokescreens regarding credit unions, make sure you have got your facts totally correct about what taxes credit unions pay. Maybe Mr. Simmons needs to do more rigorous and sometimes offbeat financial analyses of credit union financial statements to realize that we in fact do pay the federal employer portion of FICA taxes, federal and state unemployment taxes, state sales and use taxes, business personal property taxes as well as local property taxes to name a few. As a former Chief Financial Officer of several medium sized credit unions, I've written checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars over many years in taxes described above to the various governmental entities. As President and CEO of a small central Wisconsin credit union, we paid in excess of $50,000 in federal, state and local taxes last year. Pocket change by Mr. Simmons' standards but nonetheless our fair share. The premise of the article that bankers are struggling to contain growth of credit unions continues to be laughable from my vantage point. When behemoth trillion dollar banks such as Bank of America and others have total assets that outrank those of the entire 9,000 plus credit unions in America combined, it must be a helluva struggle indeed! How much more do you need to add to your record profits as an industry? Perhaps offering better consumer and mortgage loan rates, better deposit rates, more personalized customer/member service, lower NSF and credit card fees might help you gain even more market share. I appreciate Credit Union Times' willingness to publish my letter to the Wall Street Journal. Michael T. Rosek President/CEO Port Credit Union Port Edwards, Wis.