MARSHFIELD, Wis. (9/23/13)--As tax reform debate picks up in Congress, credit unions are looking out for the interests of hard-working Americans on the issue, says Credit Union National Association Chairman Pat Wesenberg in a guest column Thursday in the Enterprise-Journal.
"For years, big banks have been trying to saddle their non-profit credit union competitors with new taxes. They see a congressional tax reform push as their best chance to sneak such taxes in," said Wesenberg, who also is president/CEO of Central City CU in Marshfield, Wis.
"Consumers should hope that the big banks don't succeed," Wesenberg wrote, adding that new taxes on credit unions would impact all Americans by reducing competition in the financial services sector.
Although credit unions and banks offer similar service, "they couldn't be more different in philosophy and structure," she said.
"As non-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions exist solely to benefit their member-owners. They do so by charging low or no fees and offering higher interest rates on savings and lower rates on loans. They've done that since the 1930s, when Congress authorized their creation and granted them non-profit status," Wesenberg said.
For every dollar in new credit union taxes, the government would wipe out $10 in member benefits, she said.
"The federal tax code certainly merits reform. But lawmakers must prevent change from coming at the expense of average Americans. Slapping credit unions with new taxes would do just that," she concluded.