Local credit unions voice strong message to Congress

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Local Middle Tennessee credit unions have a strong message for Congress: “Don’t tax us”, though banks are lobbying for officials to make a change.

“If we had to pay taxes that would change the way we do business and it would also do away with the choice people have in financial institutions,” Old Hickory Credit Union President and CEO Bonnette Dawson said.

Dawson told Nashville’s News 2 credit unions are essential and should not be taxed because they serve a different clientele than banks.

“We offer similar services, but we are more responsive to low income and underserved communities. We volunteer a lot in the communities we serve,” she explained.

Unlike banks, credit unions cannot raise capitol through public stock, however members say that is better for customer service.

“When I think of a credit union, I think of community because when you come in they know who you are. You are not just a number,” Alice Breuer said.

Since the 1930s, credit unions have enjoyed a tax exemption status.

Banks, however say that’s an unfair competitive advantage, especially as credit unions broadened their services during the recession when banks had to tighten their lending policies.

Dawson told Nashville’s News 2 losing the tax exempt status would dramatically change their cost and quality of service.

“I don’t think they are aware and that’s what we are trying to do is get to every avenue we can to raise awareness,” she said.

Dawson has met with two of Tennessee’s representatives in Congress and is planning to speak with Congressman Marsha Blackburn this week.

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