REMINDER: Collins Community Credit Union will be performing a core conversion April 27 through May 1. During the conversion period you will experience service limitations as well as branch closures. All branches, including the in-store branches, will close at 5:30 p.m. on April 27 and reopen for business on Tuesday, May 1. To learn more about the core conversion, and to view frequently asked questions, click here.
We caught up with a couple members of the Collins Credit Union Advocacy Committee to bring you some more information on this bill and what you can do right now to make a difference and protect your financial choice to belong to a credit union.
How credit unions work
"Credit unions are inherently different from banks," explains Tom Blanford, Cedar Falls Branch Manager. "Our business model is built on our not-for-profit structure and our mission of people helping people. This unique model requires a different tax structure from banks. Credit unions have made the decision to return any revenue from our business to our entire membership as opposed to a select group of stockholders or owners as you might see with a bank. Credit unions in Iowa return $100 million to their members each year through lower rates, reduced fees, and higher interest on savings."
It's our sense of community and partnership with members that makes credit unions such great financial institutions to be a part of. "This movement is all about people helping people," Tom goes on to say. "It's about putting our neighbors above profits and sales targets. It's about a business model focused on doing the right thing for our members and understanding that if we do that, everything else will fall into place."
As of right now, credit unions pay a 0.5% tax, while banks pay a 5% tax on profits. The bill moving through the Iowa Senate right now would essentially bring credit unions and banks to the same tax level by cutting taxes on banks and raising taxes on credit unions.
Why should YOU as a member be concerned about his bill?
As a member of Collins Community Credit Union, you're the stakeholder! Your money is what runs the institution and because of that, you get a share in the profit. "We work for our members to give them the most benefit for their dollars," said Alejandro Alaniz, Des Moines Retail Program Manager, "and because of that, any tax law that is passed that will affect credit unions will ultimately trickle down to the membership, which could mean higher fees and interest rates."
What you can do to right now
With the topic in hot debate right now, there's a couple things you can do right now as a member to make a difference.
Tom describes that "there is a quote that says, 'decisions are made by those who show up,' which highlights the importance of participating in the political process. You can't expect someone else to stand up for your credit union or any issue you feel strongly about. You are the best advocate for your views and elected officials need to hear them."
"Some easy ways to make a difference are by simply following our social media pages and reading any emails from Collins that reference any call to action," said Alejandro. If you're looking to do a little bit more legwork, send an email, mail a postcard, or call your Representative to let them know that you oppose the tax increase and would like their help in protecting credit unions in Iowa.
To learn more about the credit union movement and Collins impact on the local economy, Alejandro suggests attending the Collins Community Credit Union Annual Meeting that takes place at 4 p.m. on April 15 at the National Czech and Slovak Museum, 1400 Inspiration Place SW in Cedar Rapids.