The Other 75 Percent
I was checking through my Twitter feed the other day and came across an article from Credit Union Times which led me to shake my head in disbelief. The piece was focused on the progress of CUNA’s “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” campaign and detailed how only 1 in 4 credit unions have participated thus far.
Thinking back to the previous week, I realized I wasn’t all that surprised. At a meeting of the Harrisburg Chapter of Credit Unions I was asked to give a legislative update. I began by asking how many people had heard about donttaxmycreditunion.org and basically got crickets and then a few people meekly raised their hands. I understand there are challenges for some credit unions in participating in legislative campaigns, whether they are time, staff, resources, or fear. The great thing is that CUNA has provided a number of resources that are available and easy to send out to members to get them involved.
I’d also urge credit unions to not overlook requesting assistance from their fellow credit unions…we are cooperatives after all and we’re in the tax reform fight together. I can only speak for my own credit union, but I’m sure the other 25 percent who have participated would be happy to share what they’ve done if it makes the responsibility of informing your members a little easier.
One other reason I’ve heard that some credit unions don’t want to participate is that they think the members don’t care or will get offended – that all they care about is rates and a good deal. I disagree, and if we truly were living the Credit Union Difference this shouldn’t be the case. Certainly, there are some members who will feel that way. We even heard back from a few (five to be exact) who think that credit unions should be taxed. But considering we’ve had over 2,200 members who have contacted their legislators so far, five members is really nothing to fret about. The majority of members we’ve heard from have been appreciative of not only being informed of the tax threat, but also of being given the opportunity to voice their opinion.
I can’t stress enough how important the tax reform issue is. I don’t want to be a Chicken Little and say the sky is falling, because it’s not…yet. If you haven’t done so I’d encourage you go to CUNA’s website and look under Credit Union Statistics for their estimate of what your credit union’s tax burden would have been in 2012. This should give you a more personal picture of what is at stake for your credit union and members.
It’s my hope that this column is a bit premature, and that credit unions just haven’t had enough time to get the word out to their members. But to echo what Dan Mica said in his column a few weeks ago, every day that goes by, those that would have us taxed are taking their message to Congress and we need to make sure we’re making our voices, and those of our members, heard.
Opinions expressed are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the institution.
Nate Muniz joined the credit union industry in 2004 and is Public Relations Manager at Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU). With a background in government and politics from his time on Capitol Hill, he monitors federal and state legislation and communicates with members about how these issues affect the credit union. His specific area of focus with government relations is grassroots and member mobilization. He currently serves as a Board Member and legislative liaison on the Harrisburg Chapter of Credit Unions and is a member of The Cooperative Trust. He can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.