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In The Media: Leagues Stress CU Difference, Tax Exemption
MADISON, Wis. (5/13/13)--Leagues continue to set the record straight on why credit unions' not-for-profit, cooperative status have earned them their tax exemption. In Oregon and Illinois, where banks are seeking legislation to end that status, leagues have weighed in with opinion-editorials in local and statewide media.

An opinion-editorial by Illinois Credit Union League President/CEO Daniel Plauda, which originally appeared in the State Journal-Register April 24 and was reported in News Now (April 26), has been picked up for coverage by other publications in the state, including the Illinois Times (May 9), and the Belleville News-Democrat (May 8) .

In it, he said taxing credit unions won't save the state's budget deficit and that doing so would "pick the pockets of almost three million state residents who rely on credit unions to provide them with affordable financial services."

Northwest Credit Union Association President Troy Stang, in an opinion article, "Credit Unions are Different--They Value People Over Profits," in the Portland (Ore.) Business Journal (May 3), noted that Oregon banks are pushing a bill "that would impose extra regulatory burdens and expenses on credit unions. If the bill should pass, it could force some credit unions to eliminate services and drive up the costs of others."

Roughly 1.4 million Oregonians are credit union members "because they appreciate better interest rates and personalized service that comes from doing business with local, member-driven, not-for-profit financial cooperatives," he wrote, adding Oregon members saved an average of $152 per household in 2012, or $110 million statewide.

Credit unions pay their members, not stockholders and they "did not engage in the risky, irresponsible big-bank behavior that nearly brought out economy to its needs in 2008 and required tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to bail them out," wrote Stang.

He also cited Voter/Consumer Research that found 90% of Oregonians had a favorable view of credit unions, compared with 53% for banks.  "The poll also found that 82% of Oregonians believed that credit unions, regardless of size, should not be taxed more than they already are, because their cooperative structure allows them to return tangible benefits to members."

A third league president, Patrick La Pine of the League of Southeast Credit Unions, in an op-ed about accepting public deposits in the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, also addressed the attacks on the tax exemption. (See related story, LSCU CEO Sun-Sentinel Op-ed: Let CUs Accept Public Deposits, in today's News Now.)

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