Monday, June 4

Your Friendly Credit Union

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently had this to say about the banks ongoing war with credit unions over their tax exempt status. As pointed out in this article from the National Associations of Federal Credit Unions, there are many advantages to credit union membership, two of which are lower fees and loan rates.

June 4, 2007

—Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Friday that last week's Government Accountability Office report on the banking industry provides "conclusive evidence" that the bankers' complaints about credit union competition are unfounded.

"The big banks' profits are going up and up, as is the compensation of their CEOs, while credit unions have remained focused on providing financial assistance to middle-class and working families," said Sanders, who requested the study last July. "The benefit that Americans get from credit unions outweighs by far the cost of the credit unions' tax-exempt status."

In a release Friday headlined "GAO: Uncle Sam Favors Banks Over Credit Unions," Sanders said that instead of questioning credit unions' tax-exempt status, Congress would better serve the public by taking "a serious look at the escalating fees, economic concentration and CEO compensation packages that big banks are receiving."

Sanders, recapping the GAO's findings, highlighted a couple items not reported here previously. For example, he said the report showed banks such as BB&T have "evaded millions of dollars in U.S. taxes" by setting up illegal tax shelters.

He also noted that one report referenced in the study showed average direct compensation for bank CEOs more than doubled from 1992 to 2000.

"As documented by the GAO, big banks are right about one thing: There is not a level playing field, but the big banks seem to have the advantage," Sanders stated. "I hope that Congress will listen to the evidence in this report and finally ignore the pleas of big banks to undermine credit unions."