The death of credit unions?

By Kristen Frazao, 

That image of starched, white collared, cordial bankers is coming undone. It’s fueled by a fight over a corporate tax exemption, that credit unions have enjoyed for decades.  The long running controversy has remained behind the doors of board rooms, that is until this year. Credit unions are now taking the fight to Youtube.

For the first time in the credit union’s 70 year history, there’s a real fear congress will eliminate that exemption.  John Bratsakis, the head of a major credit union association, says that could doom some of the 6,000 credit unions operating in the U.S. “If credit unions are taxed, it’s going to make it very difficult for some of them to survive.”

The commercial banking industry maintains that non-profit credit unions should receive a free pass, which would rob American taxpayers of as much as $2 billion a year in tax revenue.  Bratsakis says that’s simply nonsense. “Credit unions do pay tax. They pay, payroll tax, they pay property taxes that go to pay for those municipalities.”

Commercial bankers often complain to Congress about an unfair market advantage that credit unions have, claiming the non-profit cooperatives are a real threat. They say that at a time when some commercial banks are recording near record profits.  “The number of credit unions have shrunk over the last several years, especially, since 2009 and the downturn, which, unions were not reliable for.” Bratsakis said.

Roughly ninety-six million people bank at credit unions and about 6% of the marketplace.  The credit union is trying to enlist customers to help save them.

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