Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, credit union trade associations welcomed the president’s call for action on patent, tax and housing reform.
“Let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation,” Obama said on Tuesday night in the speech.
“CUNA supports the president's call for patent-reform, especially efforts that will diminish the predatory practices of ‘patent trolls,’ particularly in the area of curbing demand letter abuse, lessening impediments to appeal frivolous infringement allegations, and requiring stronger indemnification policies for end-users,” said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.
“We welcome President Obama’s call to pass patent legislation and advance initiatives on patent reform to simplify and strengthen our patent system that will promote innovation and not litigation. NAFCU has supported several bills that would help discourage patent trolls from filing frivolous lawsuits,” said NAFCU President/CEO Dan Berger.
President Obama also mentioned tax reform in his address.
“Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home,” Obama said to Congress.
“Nothing in the president’s remarks indicate that the credit union tax status is under any more scrutiny right now than any other tax expenditure,” Cheney said. “In fact, in our conversations with the administration and on Capitol Hill, it is apparent that not all tax provisions are created equal, and the strong public policy reasons behind the credit union tax status remain as compelling today as they were when first adopted.”
Cheney said tax policy discussions are still in the works and encouraged credit unions to continue their strong advocacy efforts on behalf of their federal income tax exemption.
“Since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans,” Obama also said in his speech.
“NAFCU supports President’s Obama’s ideal of keeping the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans. Credit unions continued to provide affordable mortgages throughout the economic crisis,” Berger said.
He noted that since 2008, credit unions share of first mortgage originations have increased from 4.63% to 6.34% in 2013.
“NAFCU continues to advocate that any reform of the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and housing finance overall ensures unfettered and guaranteed access for credit unions to the secondary mortgage market and fair pricing based on loan quality instead of loan volume,” he added.
CUNA urged President Obama and Congress to ensure that credit unions and other community financial institutions continue to have access to the secondary mortgage market.