In 2022 the ABA was right. In 2023 credit unions will prove them wrong

The American Bankers Association (ABA) was right: credit unions haven’t provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate their success in meeting the needs of their members or their communities. However, the validity of that assertion extends only so far. The ABA’s claim does not prove that credit unions aren’t meeting the needs of those they serve or that they don’t deserve their tax exemption. On the contrary, the ABA has only proven that, to date, credit unions have failed to adequately measure the impact they have on their members and communities. This industry-wide challenge leaves credit unions unequipped to defend themselves in 2022. 2023 will be a different story.

The American Banker Association’s Memo to Lawmakers

It’s undeniable that credit unions provide extraordinary benefits to main street Americans and that the loss of their tax-exempt status would ultimately damage the U.S. economy. In spite of this value, the ABA employed an advocacy strategy in 2022 that encouraged more stringent oversight of credit unions. They asked lawmakers to magnify the way credit unions both quantify their success and fulfill their purpose. Why? The ABA wagered correctly that most credit unions wouldn’t have the resources to capture their member or community impact, and in that way, made its intentions clear.

This occurred in the days leading up to the 2022 Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), held in Washington, D.C. The ABA published a memo titled, “Six Questions to Ask Credit Unions during this Week’s fly-in” in which the association encouraged Congress to apply pressure of their credit union counterparts. Here is the memo’s first question:


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