Credit Union “Field of Membership” Expands to All who Can Drink Beer

Back in grandpa’s day, credit unions required a “common bond” for membership. That is, members who pooled their money to help those of “small means” needed to share a common employer, hometown, or go to the same church to enjoy special treatment from the government.

Such quaint customs were considered when Congress offered credit unions a special charter that gave them an exemption from federal income taxes,  community responsibilities and public filings required of banks and other financial institutions because credit unions were about “people helping people.”

Not anymore. As the new marketing program unveiled this week by the Together Credit Union in St. Louis demonstrates, the so-called “field of membership” is as much of a relic of the 1930s as Bonnie & Clyde.

Until recently, Together Credit Union was known as the Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union and included divisions American Eagle Credit Union and Purina Credit Union.  Problem was that the sprawling “non-profit”, which recently completed construction of a new $14.5 million headquarters, found its name too confining for the growth it envisioned.

Not content to confine themselves to people who make beer for a living, President & CEO Bob McKay said the credit union wanted to spread the word. “We serve everybody,” he told the St. Louis Business Journal.

Now it doesn’t really matter if you make beer, if you drink beer, if you’ve heard of beer or if you can spell “b-e-e-r.” Says Together’s website: “We welcome all residents of the United States to apply.”

Bottom’s up, American taxpayers! The next round is on you.

See the impact on taxes in your state.

Tell Congress: It’s time to reform credit unions.