Thaler hits back against banker claims
NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler
Sept. 5. 2013 – NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler hit back forcefully at the latest round of banker attacks against the credit union tax exemption – writing members of Congress to defend credit unions’ allegiance to their origins as community-focused organizations.
Thaler responded to a report by Kenneth Kies, of Federal Policy Group LLC, and Bert Ely, of Ely & Company Inc., which was covered by Politico Morning Money. Thaler wrote, “It is an ironic and remarkable attack from those that represent the institutions that engaged in the risky lending that led to the financial crisis to begin with. In fact, their report fails to mention that the banks they represent were bailed out by the American taxpayer to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars through the TARP program.”
The report alleges that credit unions “have moved sharply away from their original mission” and grown in size. Thaler responded that all financial institutions have grown since credit unions began in the 1930s but that “the credit union market share of household financial assets is roughly the same today as it was 30 years ago.” Thaler emphasized: “The defining characteristics of credit unions remain unchanged today from when credit unions gained their tax exemption: they are not-for-profit cooperatives that serve a defined field of membership and cannot issue capital stock.”
Thaler also cited the independent study commissioned by NAFCU last year which showed that the economy as a whole gains $10 billion a year as a result of the tax exemption. The study shows it would be detrimental to members and nonmembers alike if the industry were to be upended by taking the exemption away.