CUANY’s ‘Don’t Tax My Credit Union’ rally draws hundreds
Contact: Ron McLean, Association SVP
(800) 342-9835, ext. 8191, cell: (518) 469-5945
(August 22, 2013 - Albany, NY) – An energized crowd of credit union leaders and members —including representatives from nearly every area credit union—rallied outside of the Credit Union Association of New York headquarters in Albany today to voice their support for the national Don’t Tax My Credit Union campaign.
The rally was part of the Association’s statewide Don’t Tax My Credit Union Week, designed to help raise awareness about the national campaign and encourage credit unionists to contact Congress with the “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” message.
Supporters gathered to hear guest speakers express the importance of the credit union income tax exemption.
“Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives that return their earnings to their members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher interest on savings, enhanced service and little or no fees,” said Association President/CEO William J. Mellin. “Elimination of the exemption would create a new tax on the 96 million credit union members nationwide and erase $6 billion to $10 billion in annual economic benefits.”
Four area credit union leaders joined Mellin in addressing the group, including: Paula Stopera, president/CEO of CAP COM FCU; Curt Cecala, CEO of TCT FCU; Lucy Halstead, SVP/COO of First New York FCU; and Michael Tobler, president/CEO of Albany Firemen’s FCU.
Stopera and Halstead emphasized that the exemption allows credit unions to reinvest money back into their communities. This year alone, CAP COM FCU will donate more than $200,000 to community and charitable initiatives, said Stopera.
Cecala and Tobler highlighted the histories of their credit unions, emphasizing that time and growth have not changed their fundamental mission of serving members.
Rally attendee John DeCelle, chief marketing officer of SEFCU, noted that grants, scholarships and other forms of charitable giving would come under scrutiny if the exemption were lost. “If we lose our exemption, we’re going to have to take a look at our overall situation,” he said. “There would be some type of change in how we operate—there would have to be.”
Supporters from as far away as Dannemora also made the trip to Albany to attend the rally.
"I feel it is very important for the future survival of credit unions that our voices be heard concerning this issue,” said Randy Martin, CEO of Dannemora FCU. “Without competition from credit unions, banks would have free reign with what they charge and the dividends they pay their customers to ensure large bonuses for their board members—leaving the unbanked without any options."
The rally attracted considerable media attention, with WRGB Ch. 6, WNYT Ch. 13, WTEN Ch. 10, WGY-AM and The Times Union covering the event locally.
Nearly 100 credit unions across New York are also participating in a postcard campaign coordinated by the Association. The credit unions are collecting staff/member signatures on postcards asking Congress to keep the credit union tax-exempt status. The postcards will be hand-delivered by the Association to the offices of Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand next month.
Rally guests and speakers.
William J. Mellin welcomes the group.
Attendees sign “Don’t Tax
My Credit Union” postcards before the rally begins.
The Credit Union Association of New York has served as the trade association for the state’s credit unions for 96 years. New York credit unions have assets of more than $62 billion and serve 4.8 million members. To learn more about the Association, visit www.cuany.org. To find a credit union or learn more about the credit union movement, visit www.asmarterchoice.org.