April 26, 2021

Berger: Eliminating CU exemption 'should be nonstarter in Congress'

Dan BergerIn response to bankers' latest attack to cast doubt on the benefits of the credit union industry's federal tax exemption, NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger has a new op-ed in American Banker arguing why eliminating credit unions' tax status "should be a nonstarter in Congress."

"Eliminating the exemption would forfeit billions of dollars more in economic growth and tax income annually…," Berger wrote. "That’s because credit unions channel their tax exemption to their members in the form of better rates on deposits and lower fees. Credit union members then use those additional funds and savings to generate commerce, growing the economy and creating job opportunities in the process.

"While bankers endlessly search for a justification to eliminate credit unions’ tax-exempt status, doing so would result in America losing $38 billion in tax revenue, $142 billion in GDP and 900,000 jobs over the next 10 years, according to the Feinberg-Mead study," he added.

Berger highlighted how credit unions consistently put their members first – demonstrated their participation in the Small Business Administration's paycheck protection program (PPP) to support the smallest businesses and fighting for opportunities to reach underserved communities – but banks have historically put profits first.

"On the other hand, it took a New York Times article to persuade a major bank to publicly state how it would help its customers coping with the financial ramifications of the 2019 partial government shutdown," Berger wrote. "This is in addition to the banking industry’s laundry list of consumer abuses, and the more than $240 billion in fines it racked up after the 2008 financial crisis, according to a Keefe, Bruyette & Woods report."

Read Berger's op-ed here. NAFCU will continue to set the record straight and ensure policymakers recognize the ways credit unions benefit their members and communities.