Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2024) — With representatives of tax-exempt credit unions meeting with members of Congress in Washington this week to pitch further expanding their taxpayer-subsidized competitive advantages, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today released new polling data showing Americans support reforms to policies that arbitrarily favor credit unions.

“While credit unions continue to skirt the limits established by Congress to justify their tax exemption and lax oversight, today’s polling shows federal credit union rules do not sit well with the Americans who subsidize the credit union industry — particularly amid reports of discriminatory lending practices at Navy Federal Credit Union,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said.

“As credit unions increasingly use their taxpayer subsidies to finance acquisitions of community banks — with each deal displacing a source of credit in local communities and increasing the portion of the industry exempt from the Community Reinvestment Act — Congress should hold hearings to investigate credit union practices and reconsider the credit union tax exemption, which lawmakers haven’t done since the policy was enacted 90 years ago.”

According to ICBA polling of U.S. adults conducted by Morning Consult:

Americans support changes to federal credit union policies.

  • 68% of adults — including 73% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans — say credit union customers should have the same consumer protections that banks provide, such as those provided by the Community Reinvestment Act.

  • 73% of adults — including 80% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans — say credit union customers should have the same levels of protection against illegal discrimination as bank customers.

  • 54% say Congress should investigate whether the credit union tax exemption is still warranted.

Credit union policies conflict with Americans’ banking priorities.

  • 78% of adults say it is important that their financial institution be fully regulated — a higher rate than those citing the importance of offering advantageous rates (74%), digital banking options (75%), and numerous branches and ATMs (76%).

Americans are unaware of policies favoring credit unions.

  • Just 21% of adults are aware that credit unions have a tax exemption, while 68% think credit unions are a type of bank — indicating a lack of awareness of the limits on credit unions established by Congress to justify their tax exemption.

More information on federal credit union policy is available at creditunionquestions.com.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® has one mission: to create and promote an environment where community banks flourish. We power the potential of the nation’s community banks through effective advocacy, education, and innovation.

As local and trusted sources of credit, America’s community banks leverage their relationship-based business model and innovative offerings to channel deposits into the neighborhoods they serve, creating jobs, fostering economic prosperity, and fueling their customers’ financial goals and dreams. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at icba.org.