The Independent Community Bankers of America this week began arming its members to fight credit unions on the local level.
The effort is part of the organization’s “Wake Up” campaign and tools include customized op-eds that can be sent to local news organizations, talking points, and a white paper for members to use when discussing credit unions, and in particular the credit union tax exemption.
The website also features state-level reports the ICBA said demonstrate the amount of federal income taxes credit unions in each state avoided paying, the total assets that credit unions in that state held, the amount that credit unions used for non-member expenses and the number of teachers, police officers and social workers that could have been hired if credit unions had paid taxes.
A landing page on the ICBA website even plays off CUNA’s “Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union” campaign.
“The ‘Wake Up’ campaign encourages policymakers to open their eyes to the growing threats posed by credit unions’ abandonment of their founding mission facilitated by their captive federal regulator, the National Credit Union Administration,” the trade group said.
The ICBA op-ed makes clear the group’s efforts and allows banks to insert their own name before sending it to a news organization.
“[BANK NAME] and other community banks encourage policymakers to open their eyes to the threats posed by these financial firms’ abandonment of their founding mission facilitated by their captive federal regulator,” the op-ed states. “We continue our call for Congress to review this industry’s unjust, taxpayer-funded annual subsidy.”
The website also provides tips on how to get an op-ed placed; the pointers are only available to ICBA members.
The ICBA white paper, “Do They Know They’re Tax Exempt,” purports to examine the ways that credit unions have deviated from their original mandate.
“Credit unions do not primarily serve individuals of modest means, nor do they restrict their activities to the specific communities that they are mandated to serve,” the ICBA said.
Credit union trades groups have been firing back at banker attacks for quite some time.
CUNA’s website, “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” also features easy ways credit union members may use to contact their members of Congress.
NAFCU’s “Grassroots Action Center” also eases the way for members to contact members of Congress and features a dedicated page, “Defend CUs From Banker Attacks.”
CUNA Advocacy Director Ryan Donovan on Thursday sent a letter to congressional offices noting the renewed effort.
“The bankers are at it again: complaining about the credit union tax status and how credit unions are using their structure and mission to serve their members,” he wrote. “Their complaints aren’t new but that doesn’t mean they can go unanswered.”