WASHINGTON (10/29/13)--Two members of Congress from Vermont--U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)--conveyed their unqualified support for the current credit union tax status during Vermont credit union leaders' visit in Washington, D.C., last week, said the Association of Vermont Credit Unions.
Meeting in U.S. Rep. Peter Welch's (I-Vt.) office in Washington, D.C., were, from left: Seated, Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) Directors Bernie Isabelle, Vermont FCU, and Jim St. Peter, New England FCU, and Vice-chair Susan Poczobut, Granite Hills CU. Standing, Director Bob Morgan, NorthCountry FCU; Chairman Sean Gammon, Members Advantage Community CU; Welch; Vice-president Bryan Kent; Secretary Susan Best, ORLEX Government Employees CU; Treasurer Jeff Morse, River Valley CU; and AVCU President Joe Bergeron. (Photo provided by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions).
Welch's first unsolicited point with the delegation was affirmation of the tax treatment of credit unions because of their uniqueness among financial service providers and the benefits they bring to consumers, said AVCU (Newslines Express Oct. 25).
The Senate was in an unscheduled break due to the debt ceiling and government shutdown debate the week before the meeting. However, Sanders called from his Burlington, Vt., office to speak with the group, who met with his lead financial issues staffer. As with Welch, Sanders' first unsolicited comments were to affirm his unequivocal support for the current tax treatment of credit unions and the many benefits they provide in the marketplace, said AVCU.
The group also held detailed separate discussions with Welch and key aides for Sens. Sanders and Patrick Leahy (D) about business lending for credit unions, the importance of a viable secondary mortgage market for credit unions, and legislative proposals to reduce privacy disclosure burden on financial institutions. On increased business lending limits for credit unions, Welch said he is currently neutral but recognizes the need for capital by small business and the competitive benefit credit unions provide to borrowers in the marketplace.
"Although Vermont's congressional delegation has always supported the tax treatment of credit unions in the past, it's especially assuring to get unsolicited affirmations at a time when Congress is scrutinizing future tax exemptions of more than 400 equally concerned interest groups," said AVCU President Joe Bergeron.
In addition to meeting with lawmakers, the AVCU board, president and vice-president held a legislative issues briefing with Credit Union National Association senior management and conducted its annual strategic planning process.