Members of Northwest Credit Unions Give Congress an Earful About IRS Proposal

There’s an old adage in credit union advocacy: when Main Street talks, Congress listens. Concerned about a proposal in the infrastructure bill requiring financial institutions to report to the IRS on activity in consumer accounts as low as $600, many credit unions alerted their members. And the members jumped to action.

As of last week, more than 44,000 messages rebuking the proposal had been sent from members of Northwest credit unions to their representatives through CUNA’s Grassroots Activation Center.

Bend, Oregon-based Mid Oregon Credit Union asked its members to take action, and right away, more than 1,000 people sent messages to both Oregon senators and to their congressman. And they told their friends. When Kyle Frick, the credit union’s Vice President of Marketing, walked into a local business recently, he overheard two customers expressing their outrage about the proposed legislation. He knew then his credit union had made the right move to call its membership to action on this critical issue.

“We educated our members about the problems this proposal would create and invited them to make their feelings known to Congress, “Frick said. “Everywhere I go, I am hearing people talking about this, so they should be telling their elected federal officials.”

Local Media Wants to Know More

Mid Oregon also reached consumers through news coverage. A popular Bend radio station, KNLR, interviewed Kevin Cole, Mid Oregon President.

“All in all, we really just think this is a bad policy proposal, and we believe that honest Americans and Mid Oregon members in particular don’t want the IRS snooping into their business,” Cole told the interviewer.

In Lewiston, Idaho, where P1FCU educated its members via an email, more than 5,000 messages were sent to Congress.  All that buzz got the attention of KLEW TV. The station reached out to Chris Loseth, President and CEO for more information.

“What they’re after is a way to find people who aren’t paying their taxes,” Loseth told KLEW viewers. “But most Americans pay their taxes…so we think it is a bit of an overreach.”

Jump at the Chance to Attend a Town Hall

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is a staunch opponent of the IRS account reporting proposal. He invited Idaho business leaders and a gaggle of reporters to a recent Town Hall meeting in Boise. Idaho Central CEO Kent Oram, and Cap Ed CU President and CEO Todd Erickson represented credit unions and shared insight with local media.

“The fact so many Main Street members and local news outlets are listening demonstrates how controversial and ill-advised the IRS account reporting proposal is,” said Samantha Beeler, NWCUA’s Vice President, Advocacy. “Advocacy works through every channel, whether it is through your participation in meetings with lawmakers, through emailing Congress, through media awareness, or by calling your members to action. This issue resonates with everyone, but with some elected officials still supporting this concept, we must make our voices heard.”

Editor’s note: It’s easy to message Congress about why the IRS proposal is unnecessary, burdensome, and risky, through CUNA’s Grassroots Action Center. Share the link and ask everyone you know to support credit unions and consumers.

Posted in Advocacy News.