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Credit Union Tax Status Hits Local Headlines

The debate about the credit union tax status is making local headlines, most recently in the St. Louis Business Journal.   

The July 5 article spotlighted leaders from both sides of the issue, including First Community Credit Union’s Glenn Barks, president and chief executive officer, and Steve Morgenthaler, senior vice president of finance.

“Do we offer most of the same services? Yes,” said Morgenthaler told the St. Louis Business Journal. “But credit unions serve people of modest means that bigger banks don’t want to serve—especially after the financial crisis with all of the fees banks imposed that drove small customers out.”

 
 

President/CEO Barks also weighed in on banks.

“If banks think we have an advantage, they can change their charters and become credit unions,” Barks stated, “but they don’t want to give up their stock.”

St. Louis Business Journal published an additional online article the same day, including more comments about the tax exemption debate. Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) Senior Vice President of Advocacy Amy McLard pointed out that consumers benefit from credit unions’ federal income tax exemption, because profits are returned to members. “If you remove the exemption, it becomes a tax on working class people who are credit union members. Even if you are not a member, you get a benefit because credit unions are a check and balance on banks.”

The online article concluded by stating that while the number of credit unions and community banks is similar–7,030 to 6,170–the number of assets is “quite different” with credit unions holding $1 trillion to banks’ $13 trillion in assets.

With the tax reform debate heating up in Congress, credit union leaders in Missouri are urged to watch for media opportunities to share the credit union message of service and commitment to members and the community. Making sure the public understands what sets credit unions and banks apart and why credit unions should keep their federal tax status is vital to the survival of credit unions.

In addition to taking action with lawmakers at the Don't Tax My Credit Union website and using social media, share your good news with MCUA at pr@mcua.org and submit it to a local media outlet—whether it’s Patch.com or a community publication.