Iowa Bankers Launch Ad Campaign to Do Away with Credit Union Tax Exemption

As the Iowa state legislature examines reforming the state tax code, the Iowa Bankers Association has launched a digital, radio and television ad campaign calling on lawmakers to end the “free ride” tax exemption for credit unions.

“We have a real opportunity here to address this issue and protect Iowa taxpayers,” Iowa Bankers President and CEO John Sorensen told the Des Moines Register. “Every business in Iowa seems to survive just fine by paying some taxes to support education and health care and infrastructure in our state. What makes [credit unions] different?”

The ad campaign specifically targets the five largest credit unions in the state, which together made more than $100 million in profits in 2016. Bankers have long raised concerns that these large credit unions operate effectively the same as banks and have far exceeded their congressional mandate to serve small communities and customers united by common bonds. “It’s not your grandpa’s credit union anymore; these are big businesses,” added Dave Nelson, president and CEO of West Bank, headquartered in Des Moines. “Just like anybody else, they should pay their income taxes.”