CUNA Chairman Barry Jolette exhorted credit unions to make the most of their time in the nation's capitol to ensure that the banker rhetoric against the CU tax exemption is quashed, though it is clear that the real fight right now is at the state level.
"Just look at what's going on in Utah, Florida, Iowa, and Missouri. State after state. And a few blocks down on Connecticut Avenue at the American Bankers Association," he said. "With state governments and the federal government running huge budget deficits, the bankers smell an opening. And they're trying to exploit it. They know one big victory at the state level will help them in other states. And accumulated victories in the state will help them here in Washington."
The CEO of San Mateo CU, Redwood City, Calif. suggested that despite their claims to the contrary, the single goal behind all this banker rhetoric is "to put us out of business." The only way to fight that, Jolette observed, is for credit unions to stop allowing anyone but credit unions to define what a credit union is.
"We've set our own political vision through the CUNA Renaissance Commission: Every American ought to have access to credit union service. And credit unions ought to have the authority and flexibility we need to serve our members today and in the future," he said, noting that when CUs visit their lawmakers, "you'll bring our vision to life."