Oregonians Overwhelmingly Support Credit Unions and Their Tax Structure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2013

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Lynn Heider
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Oregonians Overwhelmingly Support Credit Unions and Their Tax Structure
Poll Shows Big Banks Missed the Boat Attacking Credit Unions

BEAVERTON, OR — A newly released poll shows Oregon consumers have overwhelming loyalty to credit unions over banks, and support the credit union not-for-profit tax exemption.

The poll was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research in late January. The telephone survey questioned 300 registered Oregon voters.

“Loyalty to credit unions is very high, and this doesn’t surprise us given how much money consumers save by leaving their banks,” said Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).

The Oregon voters’ poll was released as bank lobbyists are once again pressing the Oregon Legislature to begin imposing a corporate tax on the state’s largest credit unions. Credit unions do pay property and payroll taxes. They are exempt from state occupation tax because as not-for-profit cooperatives, their earnings are returned to the members in the form of lower fees, lower loan rates and higher returns on deposits.

The Oregon voter poll suggests the banks’ attacks won’t be popular with the public. According to the survey:

  • 90% of Oregonians have a positive impression of credit unions, while 56% have a favorable opinion of banks. Credit unions have a 96% approval rating among their members.
  • 70% of Oregon voters agree that because they are not-for-profit, credit unions should not have to pay business or occupation taxes.
  • When asked specifically which side they’d take if a disagreement between banks and credit unions erupted in the Legislature, 71% of Oregon voters said they’d side with credit unions, and just 18% said they would support banks.
  • Oregon’s tax officials estimate the bank lobby’s legislation could generate one to four million dollars per year. However, the Credit Union National Association reports Oregon’s working class credit union members saved $121 million in direct benefits during the 12-month period ending in September, 2012.

“That’s $170 a year in real savings for the average credit union household,” Stang said. “That is a benefit bank customers did not enjoy. Our members—teachers, truck drivers, working moms and dads—didn’t pay those banking fees and instead invested their savings right back into Oregon’s economy.”

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The Northwest Credit Union Association is the not-for-profit trade association serving 164 of Oregon and Washington’s credit unions and their 4.4 million members. The NWCUA is the voice of the Northwest credit union movement, providing legislative, regulatory and public advocacy in addition to education, compliance, networking support and business solutions to its members. For information on how to join a credit union, please visit http://www.asmarterchoice.org.

Click to download the press release.

Posted in Around the NW, Community Impact, Events.