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CUNA, CU Member Take On Bankers On Tax Status
WASHINGTON and DULUTH, Minn. (10/9/13)--The Credit Union National Association took on the bankers in an article in the Tennesseean about bankers' attacks on the credit union tax status, and a credit union member chimed in on the tax debate in an op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune.

"Banks don't want to level the playing field; they just want to eliminate the competition completely--and they know that without the tax exemption, credit unions will not be able to compete," said Credit Union National Association Executive Vice President Paul Gentile in the Tennessean article, which was published Monday.

CUNA told the publication that credit unions provide members with lower fees, lower interest rates and higher returns on savings and taxation would end up costing consumers, rather than making a difference in federal government revenues.

The statements were made in an article about the priorities of the next president of the Tennessee Banking Association, Colin Barrett, who named taxing credit unions and simplifying regulatory burdens prompted by the financial crisis of 2008.

Barrett said that "a lot of our banks are finding themselves in a situation where they have more compliance officers than they do lenders because it takes so much to keep up with everything coming out of Washington." He predicted, "it's going to make it more difficult for consumers to get mortgage loans and it's not going to provide any benefit."

Credit unions' tax status is also a running debate through a number of letters to the editor and op-ed pieces. The latest, on Monday, is an op-ed from credit union member Bryce Makela of Duluth--who outlined why credit unions deserve their tax exemption.

"I have accounts in both credit unions and banks," Makela said, noting that the only advantage he had found with banks was wider accessibility with ATMs.

"Credit unions are owned by those they serve; banks are owned by their stockholders. Credit unions return their profits (after expenses and salaries are paid) back to their members; banks, as corporations, are created to make as much profit as possible for their stockholders," he wrote.
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