Large credit unions are using the savings from their federal tax exemption to acquire taxpaying community banks at an alarming rate, Mississippi Bankers Association President and CEO Gordon Fellows writes in a new op-ed.

Details: In the op-ed—which ran in publications including the Greenwood Commonwealth and Indianola Enterprise-Tocsin—Fellows writes that while Mississippi and other states have passed laws to provide for a fairer acquisition environment, Congress must step up.

Recent Momentum:

  • Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman last week raised concerns with credit union acquisitions of banks, noting the tax-exempt financial firms are exempt from the Community Reinvestment Act.

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra recently told Congress that lawmakers should consider applying CRA requirements to credit unions and other nonbanks.

  • Members of Congress have launched several inquiries on CNN’s report about Navy Federal Credit Union’s racial disparities in mortgage approval rates.

Public Opinion: According to ICBA polling, 68% of adults said credit union customers should have the same CRA protections that banks provide. Following the latest acquisition of a tax-paying bank by a tax-exempt credit union, ICBA said this trend is a matter of federal policy and requires congressional action.

Grassroots Resources: Community bankers can use ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots action center to call on their members of Congress to hold a hearing on credit union policy. Additional resources are available on the ICBA website.