Wings Financial Credit Union – with nearly $7 billion in assets – planned to buy Neighborhood National Bank of Mora, Minn. The deal was announced in March 2020 for the credit union giant to buy the $200 million bank. But in early 2021 the deal fell apart, much to the surprise of Neighborhood National CEO Doyle Jelsing.
During the Great Depression, the federal government incentivized credit unions to provide consumer-focused financial services to people of modest means by granting them a tax exemption. Given the severity of that economic crisis, the policy was crafted to help at-risk communities weather difficult times by expanding access to credit. However, the industry has evolved over the last 100 years — calling into question their preferential tax and regulatory treatment.