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PORTLAND, Ore.-NCUA Board Member Deborah Matz gave attendees of Credit Union Association of Oregon’s Annual Business Meeting four suggestions for avoiding taxation. “I closely watched the tax debates in your state legislature and several other states,” Matz said. “I wish I could tell you that since you were successful in preventing a tax on credit unions in this year’s session, you won’t be threatened again in the next session. But the efforts to tax credit unions are ongoing. The safety and soundness of the entire credit union system is threatened by taxes.” Matz’ recommendations include: *Providing alternatives to predatory lenders; *Offering affordable mortgages for first-time homebuyers; *Increasing financial education; and *Offering member business loans, nearly half of which go to low-income households. “Financial education is important for all income levels, just as it is for all age levels,” Matz stated. “You can teach people to become better savers, better buyers, and ultimately, long-term credit-worthy members. That’s an incentive to help everyone in your field of membership become financially savvy.” She added that if credit unions are willing to make business loans, then that those members taking advantage of the product may also transfer their personal account to the credit union as well. Matz emphasized that “from a public policy standpoint, lawmakers weigh any group’s tax exemption against the public good. Lawmakers want to hear what good work you have done to help constituents in their communities. For that reason, offering these services may help preserve the tax exemption for credit unions.” She concluded that working to reach the entire field of membership “is not only the right thing to do. It’s good business.”

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