Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

WASHINGTON-Try as they might, the bankers are not creating much of a chink in credit unions’ political armor. Despite the latest tactics of the banking trade associations, including the American Bankers Association, America’s Community Bankers, and the Independent Community Bankers Association’s recent coalition, credit union support on Capitol Hill continues to grow. In the last year President George W. Bush, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry, and Treasury Secretary John Snow have come out in support of the credit union tax exemption; a bipartisan group of 60 lawmakers have signed onto the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 3579); and numerous other members of Congress have come out in support of the credit union tax-exempt status. Credit union lobbyists have said they actually have more supporters privately, but prefer not to rock the boat right before election time. “We always have known that we have a large reservoir of goodwill on Capitol Hill,” CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn said. The banker attacks have simply offered credit unions the opportunity to better gauge their support, he explained. He added, “We are very grateful to the bankers to demonstrate this.” NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler said his organization is pleased with the backing credit unions have received and added confidently, “You’ll see that number continue to grow.” There are a variety of reasons the credit union message has resonated so well in Washington, D.C., according to the lobbyists. “Eighty-five million members around the county. That helps,” Kohn said. “There are credit unions in every district and I think members (of Congress) realize who the owners are.Those members are their constituents,” Thaler pointed out. Kohn added that a good number of members of Congress and their staff are credit union members and see and appreciate the grassroots democracy at work and the services they provide and how they provide them. “Lawmakers understand credit unions are there for their members. Lawmakers understand that credit unions offer services that aren’t so profitable,” Thaler said. Additionally, he explained that the bankers come to Washington with a very negative message that does not play as well with Congress. He held up the hearing in the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee a couple years ago on regulatory relief when the bankers spent the bulk of their time complaining about the credit union provisions. Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) reprimanded them. More recently, a hearing on regulatory relief for community banks earlier this year became a credit union bashing session. CUNA and NAFCU and their members have worked hard to get credit unions known on Capitol Hill. “We’ve gotten out members very actively engaged in talking to their members of Congress,” Kohn said Thaler added that it is important for credit unions to get involved in their districts as well as visiting Washington, D.C. “Credit union support in Congress remains strong and that comes through credit union grassroots and efforts here in the District,” he stated. [email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to CUTimes.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited CUTimes.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical CUTimes.com information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including Law.com and GlobeSt.com.

Already have an account?


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times
Live Chat

Copyright © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.