Now is not the time to ease up on the accelerator! Over the last several weeks, we have asked you, your staff, volunteers, and even your members to reach out to Congress to oppose a legislative proposal that would require credit unions and banks to report deposits and withdrawals of more than $600 to the Internal Revenue Service. The proposal was even more far reaching – as financial institutions would be required to report on all those transactions of both businesses and individual account holders.
During markup of the Build Back Better Act last Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee removed the language from bill. However, this doesn’t mean that the proposal is dead. In fact, it will more than likely be reintroduced in either the Budget or Rules Committee before it hits the floor. We hear that this proposal has the necessary support in the Senate. I don’t have tell you that if this language resurfaces and somehow passes, how devastating it will be to credit unions and banks, not to mention what a huge invasion of privacy and government surveillance this would be on American citizens.
This is nothing more than a hunting exercise. We are all a source for money and funding for the government and they don’t trust you to report what you have. The Federal Government and the IRS want access to your financial transactions so they can take a deeper dive into your personal records and accounts, and they are using banks and credit unions as a tool to do it. This is an invasion of credit union member privacy because this information cannot be directly used to ascertain a taxpayer’s tax liability.
What will this mean to credit unions and banks? If this proposal passes, it will push more and more people into cryptocurrency markets. (The only other option will be to start stashing cash under the mattress again.) People will lose trust in their financial institutions and simply stop using banks and credit unions.
Credit unions and banks are pushing back for all these reasons – and we’re asking you to reach out to your members and engage them on this issue. Besides the whole privacy debate, we have concerns regarding the added regulatory burden this proposal would impose on credit unions. Just to comply with the requirements of this proposal, credit unions will have to hire firms to update software, train staff on new procedures, manage member complaints regarding the requirement to turn this information over to the government, and more. All of this will come at a cost to credit union members. In addition, there are serious cybersecurity concerns: Should the IRS be responsible for collecting this data, as there have been several recent breaches of government systems that raise questions about the government’s ability to keep the data secure.
Dakotans Are Responding – But We Need More!
As of last Friday, over 170,000 credit union advocates have already told Congress to oppose this controversial provision. Here in the Dakotas we have had more than 9,000 credit union advocates respond, as many Dakota credit unions have engaged their members directly through the Member Activation Program (MAP) resources.
This truly is a “moment of truth” issue for credit unions and all financial institutions. I encourage every Dakota credit union to act now and keep the “pedal to the metal” on this important issue. If you’re not subscribed to the MAP program, you can learn more about it and opt in here to share this action alert with your staff and members. If you have any questions about how to best utilize the MAP program, don’t hesitate to contact Jay Kruse, DakCU’s Chief Advocacy Officer. Finally, if you already haven’t done so, please make sure you use our Voter Voice Grassroots Action Center to send a message.
Dakota Senator Joins in Tax Gap Reform and IRS Enforcement Act
North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, a Senate Banking Committee member, has joined Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) in introducing the Tax Gap Reform and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Enforcement Act, bicameral legislation to protect taxpayers against Democrats’ campaign to monitor Americans’ bank accounts, place taxpayer finances in a surveillance dragnet, and provide additional mandatory funding to increase the number of IRS agents. “Democrats want to dramatically expand the IRS workforce and give it new powers which will infringe on American taxpayers’ privacy,” said Senator Cramer. “Our legislation implements important safeguards against potential targeting and abuse by the tax collecting agency.”
DakCU Virtual “Town Hall Tuesdays” Planned for Q4
Dakota Credit Union Association has set aside two days coming up in our 4th quarter which we are calling “Town Hall Tuesdays.” Mark your calendars now for October 26th and December 14th at 3:00 p.m. (CT) when the DakCU leadership team will provide Dakota credit union leaders with updates on our legislative and regulatory priorities, the latest Awareness Campaign data and plan going forward, as well as fall and winter educational opportunities and events, year-end membership updates, and new initiatives coming in 2022. Watch for an email invite from me coming soon.
Awareness Campaign Data Continues to Show Significant Progress
As I mentioned in my last article, we've made significant progress in increasing consumer consideration and awareness with our “Open Your Eyes” campaign. September’s campaign success report reinforces that more consumers than ever are becoming aware of credit unions, as demonstrated by a nearly 10-point increase in ad recall for credit unions nationally. Other data shows that unaided consumer consideration for credit unions as lenders has reached 22%, an increase of 8 points from the baseline in 2019; unaided consumer consideration for checking/savings grew 7 points to 19%; and in those states where the campaign has run the longest, total consideration achieved double-digit growth! Without our contributors, these results would not be possible. Thank you for your continued support and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about the direction of this important campaign.
Sioux Falls FCU Launches Exciting New Look
Last week, Sioux Falls FCU (Sioux Falls, SD) launched their new name and updated look! Levo Credit Union, the new name and brand, captures the energy that comes from working with a financial institution that strives to help you live better – the credit union way! Congratulations to Fran Sommerfeld and his staff on completing this huge undertaking. Be sure to check out the feature story in today’s Memo for more background information about this big change.
Congratulations to Nanci Wilson!
I would like to send a shout-out to Nanci Wilson at University FCU (Grand Forks, ND) who just received third place in the CRMNEXT Right on The Money Contest! Besides the recognition and accolades, Nanci receives a custom trophy a generous cash prize. The “Right on The Money” contest recognizes credit unions and community banks whose innovative work is transforming the communities they serve. She was selected because of her active role in moving the credit union movement forward; for inspiring mental health awareness, for her community driven initiatives for women, and for her “No Embarrassment” project. Congratulations Nanci!
Still time to register for New Ideas Conference
Don’t wait any longer to sign up for our New Ideas Conference in Deadwood, South Dakota on October 4 – 6. We have a truly terrific fall event planned, with Lorraine Ranalli – famous storyteller, author, and public speaker as our emcee and facilitator. But don’t think this is just for marketing people! We will covering the latest and greatest credit union trends including reputation management, Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it relates to lending, and emerging use for cryptocurrencies. I hope to see you there!
No In-House Counsel? No Worries!
The first in our webinar series, “Attorney’s Conference for Non-Attorneys,” is rapidly approaching on September 28. This series is a collaborative with six other Midwest leagues to help credit unions handle pressing legal and compliance risks. Each session is just $25 – with such a nominal fee, this really is another “benefits of membership” deal. These webinars are designated for CEOs and managers that must deal with legal issues and don’t have in-house counsel. We believe that this information, along with risk mitigation strategies, will help protect credit unions from liability and from having outside legal expenses. Get complete details here and be sure to register for each individual session.
Have a great week!
Dakota Credit Union Association
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