FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA Applauds Chairman Bill Thomas for Examining Credit Union Exemption
Washington, D.C. (March 3, 2004) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) praised House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) for calling for an examination of the federal tax exemptions enjoyed by many tax-exempt entities, such as credit unions, to determine whether these entities provide greater value to the public than their taxable competitors.
"We applaud Chairman Thomas' decision to examine the credit union tax exemption," said Camden R. Fine, president/CEO-elect of ICBA. "In their quest to compete with banks and expand their commercial lending powers, credit unions have lost sight of their statutory mission, which is to provide financial services to people of small means. The credit union tax exemption, which is estimated to cost the Treasury $7.9 billion through 2009, should be examined to determine whether it still has any value to the public."
A report on credit unions issued by the General Accounting Office last November indicated that, based on 2001 HMDA loan application records, credit unions made a lower proportion of mortgage loans to households with low and moderate incomes than peer group community banks. The GAO pointed out that these results confirmed what other studies by the Credit Union National Association and the Woodstock Institute indicate-that credit unions serve a higher-income population than banks.
ICBA maintains that the GAO report provides evidence that credit unions are losing sight of their statutory mission, which is to provide financial services to people of small means.