Wisconsin Budget Eases CU Conversions To Bank

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MADISON, Wis. – The credit union lobby made a last-ditch effort to stop a bank-backed bid to ease credit union conversions to banks, asking Gov. Scott Walker to exercise his line-item veto power to remove a provision in the budget passed by the legislature making it easier to make the charter switch.

With a line-item veto the Governor can excise just one objectionable part of a big budget package without killing the whole thing.

The credit union provision would require approval from a simple majority of a credit union’s voting members at a special meeting to convert, making Wisconsin–where almost every one of the state’s 220 credit unions are state chartered–the easiest state to switch to a bank.

“The direct-conversion provisions subvert the interests of a credit union’s full membership to that of a few who intend to own and profit from a stockholder-owned – and not member-owned – business structure,” said Brett Thompson, president of the Wisconsin CU League, who urged the Governor’s veto.

The provision was added to the budget at the behest of the Wisconsin Bankers Association without any hearings or input from the credit union lobby, noted Thompson. “This is a continuation of covert moves by the banking industry to kill the healthy not-for-profit competition,” he said.

There has not been a credit union conversion to bank in Wisconsin since 2001.


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