Wisconsin Credit Union League: Statement by Wisconsin Credit Union League President & CEO Brett Thompson

Contact: Chad Helminak

(800) 242-0833, Ext 6012


Reaction to the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s response to the League’s April 8 press release citing credit unions’ successful efforts to meet small businesses’ borrowing needs

Pewaukee, Wis. – “Credit unions are eager to be part of a solution that keeps small businesses healthy and that keeps people in their jobs. Banks want to prevent that – all to the detriment of the Wisconsin economy and working families,” said Brett Thompson, President & CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

“It’s déjà vu all over again. The Wisconsin Bankers Association keeps repeating the same factual inaccuracies over and over, apparently believing that tireless repetition will somehow make the statements true and deflect attention from banks’ recent poor performance in serving Wisconsin’s businesses and working families. Instead, it just weakens their credibility even more.

“The bottom line remains:

. Wisconsin credit unions’ business lending was not subject to any cap for credit unions’ first 70 years of existence. Since the cap was put in place in 1998 there has been no evidence of systemic risk due to credit unions’ business lending.

. In fact, the data we now have suggests to the contrary, illustrating more clearly banks’ recent financial woes. In 2009, banks’ loan losses were 2.36% compared to just .59% for credit unions.

. Regulators and small businesses alike support lifting the cap because it is good public policy. There’s no cost to taxpayers and the banks are not providing a solution.

“It’s time we ask ourselves – who do we believe? It’s either banks, that generate record profits when the economy is strong but turn their backs when working families struggle, or not-for-profit financial cooperatives that support working families regardless of the prevailing economic conditions.”