Credit unions in Wisconsin may soon be able to double their financial support for charitable and community organizations.
The state assembly recently passed Senate Bill 356, which would increase credit unions’ charitable giving limit, set in 1971 at one-half of one percent to 1% of regular reserves. A companion bill, AB 468, also garnered bipartisan support, according to the Wisconsin Credit Union League. The proposal is on its way to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.
WCUL President/CEO Brett Thompson said he is grateful to the authors of the proposal, Sen. Glen Grothman (R-West Bend) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and its more than 30 co-sponsors.
Wisconsin credit unions support close to 3,000 charities and programs with hundreds of thousands of dollars of monetary, in-kind and volunteer support annually, according to the league.
That support is in addition to the more than $200 million credit unions saved their members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings and lower and fewer fees for financial services in 2011, the league noted.
“Wisconsin's member-owned financial institutions are vested in and committed to making significant contributions to the communities they serve,” Thompson said. “Increasing the amount they can give to charitable and community causes will ensure they can continue to do so long into the future.”
The news on Wisconsin’s amended credit union donation allowance comes nearly a year after the National Credit Union Foundation and MEMBERS Trust Co. entered into a strategic alliance to expand options for credit unions to make charitable contributions to the foundation through the Community Investment Fund.
With the goal of creating comprehensive giving options correlated to investment goals and risk, the alliance will give credit unions new alternatives, which include an insured CD custodian account and a Part 703 compliant investment trust, according to both firms.
In December, it was announced that the $1.5 billion GTE Federal Credit Union in Tampa, Fla., and the $9.7 billion BECU in Tukwila, Wash., were the first investors in the trust option. According to the NCUF, both credit unions accounted for $15 million of the $30 million invested in the three CIF options.