CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to the members of the Iowa State Senate Wednesday to urge it to reject a bill that would place additional taxes on credit unions. CUNA has been working closely with the Iowa Credit Union League as bank attacks have ramped up in the state, and will continue its advocacy on a state level to work against the bill, S.S.B. 3197.
“Simply put: this legislation would raise taxes on Iowa credit union members and reduce taxes on banks and their stockholders, many of whom do not live in the state,” Nussle wrote. “It would make it more expensive for Iowans to access safe and affordable credit provided by not-for-profit financial cooperatives. This legislation is bad for Iowa and we urge this body to soundly reject it.”
Nussle, a native Iowan who represented the state in the U.S. House from 1991 to 2007, noted if S.S.B. 3197 is enacted, noted that credit unions make up only fourteen percent of the state’s financial market and the competition they provide for-profit banks creates a less predatory environment for Iowans and keeps bank fees from getting even more outrageous.
He also cited data that showed Iowa credit union members saved $105 million in better rates and lower fees. In addition, 60-month new car loans average 3.21%, while the same loan at banks average 4.37%, a difference of $940 on a $30,000 car.
“In addition to quantifiable benefits, credit unions also provide Iowa consumers with significant intangible benefits. Credit unions exist to help people and strictly adhere to the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy and their structure lends to a focus on providing exceptional member (customer) service. Credit unions offer full and fair service to all of their members,” Nussle wrote.
“The existence of a thriving set of alternative member-owned financial institutions benefits not only the members of Iowa credit unions, but also customers of for-profit banks and other institutions,” he added. Because of their benefits to consumers, Iowa credit unions should be fostered and strengthened, not hampered by new taxes as proposed in S.S.B. 3197.