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ICBA Credit Union Petition Tops 13,000

Growing number of constituents sign petition opposing further tax-exempt credit union mission creep

Washington, D.C. (July 30, 2012)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today announced that a petition opposing the tax-exempt credit unions’ power grab legislation to expand their member business lending authority has garnered more than 13,000 signatures and growing.  The broad taxpaying community-banking sector and their employees and customers nationwide are expressing their opposition by the thousands to the controversial credit union bills (S. 2231 / H.R. 1418).

“ICBA and more than 13,000 constituents vigorously oppose legislation to expand the commercial lending powers of tax-exempt credit unions,” said Camden R. Fine, ICBA president and CEO. “Expanding the business-lending authority for taxpayer-subsidized credit unions—at the expense of taxpayers—would widen budget deficits at the federal, state and local levels.”

Credit unions have a generous tax subsidy and lighter regulations because they were established to serve people of modest means, which is why Congress placed a cap on their business-lending authority. ICBA believes that if credit unions are to be allowed to expand into commercial lending, they should be taxed and required to comply with the Communities Reinvestment Act.

Additionally, there is little evidence that an increase in the cap is necessary. According to the National Credit Union Administration, only a handful of the nation’s 7,300 credit unions are at or near the current member business lending cap. Additionally, every credit union today can continue to do business lending because loans under $50,000, Small Business Administration loans as large as $5.5 million, and loans secured by the borrower’s primary residence are all exempt from the cap.

Notably, individual credit unions have expressed growing opposition to the legislation. In April, several credit union executives wrote to Congress that the failure of several large credit unions was due to excess business lending. They also noted that the credit union industry is unprepared for expanded business-lending authority and that a silent majority of credit unions neither wants nor needs a cap hike bill in Congress.

ICBA encourages concerned constituents to continue to sign the petition at www.stoptheCUgrab.org.

For more information, visit www.icba.org.