Credit unions still stick in the craw of community banks, based on the priorities for the coming year the Independent Community Bankers of America announced Tuesday at its annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.
One of its seven priorities is titled “Stop Unfair Tax-Exempt Credit Union Power Grab.” In it, the ICBA urges Congress to address what it calls tax and regulatory disparities between credit unions and banks and to oppose more credit union “mission creep.”
“Large, multi-bond and geographic-based credit unions have exceeded their statutory tax-exempt mission and unfairly use their large taxpayer subsidy to compete with taxpaying community banks,” the ICBA statement said. “Bank-like credit unions should be subject to the same laws and regulations as banks, including taxation and compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act.”
The trade group also took aim at credit union industry efforts to raise the member business lending cap, saying that only 162 of the nation’s 7,300 credit unions are at or near the current 12.75% cap and that Small Business Administration loans, as well as any small business loans of $50,000 or less, already are exempt from the cap.
“There is ample capacity for the 98% of credit unions below the federally mandated cap to expand their lending with no change to current law if they choose to do so,” the ICBA statement said.
Other priorities include regulatory relief, including enactment of the Communities First Act the ICBA said would provide much-needed regulatory and tax relief for community banks, customers and communities.
The trade group also is asking that the Consumers Financial Protection Bureau not overly restrict community banks’ ability to restructure mortgages to help homeowners.
“Our nation’s more than 7,000 community banks continue to be prolific small businesses lenders and job creators, boosting economic growth in local communities nationwide,” said Jeff Gerhart, incoming ICBA chairman and chairman of Bank of Newman Grove, Neb.
“ICBA’s 2012 policy priorities address the needs of Main Street community banks and their customers by supporting key policies that promote much-needed regulatory relief for community banks, address the suffocating examination environment, extend FDIC coverage of transaction accounts and stop the tax-exempt credit unions’ unfair push to expand into prohibited commercial lending—at the expense of taxpaying community banks,” Gerhart said.
The ICBA said its 2012 National Convention and Techworld attracted more than 3,000 attendees and is the largest community banking industry event in the world.