Small Credit Unions Should Ask Tough Questions as Credit Unions Gather for Annual DC Conference

Credit union executives will deploy to the Washington, D.C. Convention Center this week to lobby policymakers for additional industry expansion and bask in the success and growth of their industry – growth and success fueled virtually entirely by the largest credit unions, oftentimes at the expense of, or on the backs of, small credit unions.

The blatant overreach by large credit unions that trumpet the credit union motto “people, not profits” while focusing exclusively on the latter should rankle small credit unions that are truly serving their communities.

We urge those smaller credit unions to challenge their larger and growing credit union siblings who are abusing the purpose and mission of credit unions for their own unbridled, unchecked, and over-the-top growth.

Some questions we might raise would include:

  • Are large credit unions simply banks that use their tax-free status to drive growth and gobble up market share, including from struggling small credit unions?
  • Is it appropriate for large credit unions to use the enormous capital they have accrued from not paying federal income taxes to buy banks? Is this in line with the Federal Credit Union Act?
  • Are large credit unions abiding by their mission to serve the financially underserved or are they focused on attracting more affluent customers? We suspect financing jet skis, luxury cars, and vacation homes is not exactly what FDR had in mind when he signed the Federal Credit Union Act.
  • Should large credit unions own their own luxury private jets?
  • Are large credit unions committed to the survival of all credit unions or are they focused on their individual growth?

These are just a few of the questions we urge small credit unions to ask of their large credit union siblings. The big guys have been using the small credit unions for political cover for years, if not decades. For those credit union true believers – whom we at Reform Credit Unions support and believe in – when will enough be enough?

You can be sure Reform Credit Unions will be asking those questions more and more as credit unions hold their conference – and for as long as large credit unions persist in their attempt to simply act as under-regulated, un-taxed banks.

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