Tax status tops legislative list

A close second is the interchange issue, says CUNA's Ryan Donovan.

March 1, 2011

“Even though tax reform is a top priority in both houses of Congress, preserving the credit union tax status is a top priority for credit unions,” Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s vice president of legislative affairs, told attendees at Monday afternoon’s General Session.

“When you visit your members of Congress this week, be sure to tell them the credit union tax status might cost consumers about $600 million a year, but it saves consumers $10 billion a year in financial benefits,” said Donovan.

“If the tax status is our top priority, the interchange issue is a close second,” he said. CUNA is working diligently to rectify the damage that could be done under the Federal Reserve Board’s debit interchange proposal if significant changes aren’t made. “Tell members of Congress to stop the interchange rules, study the rules’ impact on consumers and small issuers, and start over.”

Donovan also told attendees to tell their elected officials to support raising the cap on member business lending from 12.25% of assets to 27.5%. This higher cap would come at no cost to taxpayers, it would unleash $10 billion in new loans to small businesses, and it would create 108,000 new jobs.

Another issue Donovan discussed was the need for credit unions to have access to supplemental capital. “Credit unions are the only depository institutions in the U.S. without access to supplemental forms of capital,” he said. “Without it, credit unions can achieve only slow growth in the future.”

Co-presenter, Richard Gose, CUNA’s senior vice president of political affairs, also shared a recent voter survey showing:

• 42% of voters are credit union members.

• 83% of voters would like to see credit unions grow.

• 58% of members would write their elected officials in support of credit union legislation.

• 81% of credit union boards are in favor of enlisting their members’ help for political purposes.