The Iowa Bankers Association appears to operate under the idea that “if you say it enough, it must be true.” The opinion piece from banker Brad Lane (July 4) includes so many falsehoods that it is a disservice to Iowa consumers.

While Iowa’s not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative credit unions continue to provide exceptional value to 1.3 million Iowans, bankers raked in a record $1.1 billion of profits this past year and own nearly 90% market share.

Banker greed has no limits and they will say anything to get more.

Enough is enough. Let’s put the facts on the table, shall we?

Bankers are complaining that one of their own, First American Bank, chose to sell seven branches to GreenState Credit Union. This is the first such transaction in Iowa, although it has become commonplace nationwide. So let’s use it as a case study to show once and for all how much value credit unions provide to Iowa consumers and our state.

The numbers tell the true story.

Fact: If the 10,000 bank customers impacted by this transaction were credit union members last year, they would have earned an estimated $8.4 million more on their money, simply due to the fact the credit union pays higher interest on savings than the bank.

That is a significant amount of dollars placed back into hard-working Iowans’ pockets, simply by becoming credit union members. This doesn’t even account for the more favorable loan rates these new members will enjoy at their credit union.

Fact: Using 2018 tax data, Iowa would have received more than $250,000 in additional tax revenue if the bank had been operating as the credit union.

This bears repeating: Contrary to what bankers will tell you, this bank sale to a credit union will result in higher tax revenue paid to the State of Iowa due to the additional tax paid on individual interest income and the credit union’s legal reserves.

Keri Jacobs, associate professor of economics and Iowa Institute for Cooperatives endowed economics professor at Iowa State University, reviewed the data to confirm its accuracy. Dr. Jacobs reported, “The state should receive a net increase in tax revenue and more depositors will benefit from increased interest income if the transaction is approved by regulators.”

Fact: Today, nearly two-thirds of Iowa banks take advantage of “Subchapter S,” status which allows them to avoid paying $76 million in federal corporate income taxes.

It gets even better for Iowa banks. In 2018 alone, $589 million was paid in cash dividends to owners of Iowa-domiciled banks, which doesn’t include national banks like Wells Fargo. Due to the 2017 federal tax reform, Iowa’s Sub S bank owners saved $34 million in individual taxes on these dividends. These same Sub S bank owners have claimed an additional $20 million each of the last three years in a state tax credit that is available only to them.

The facts are clear: More taxes would be paid to the state and more dollars would land in Iowans’ pockets as a result of this credit union transaction.

At the same time, bankers are successfully lobbying to reduce their own tax burden while celebrating record profits.

History has proven that facts don’t stop bankers from continuing their decades-long misinformation campaign against credit unions. Iowans understand bankers’ true motivation behind these attacks and appreciate the choice and competition credit unions provide as a valued alternative in the marketplace.

Williams is president and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League,

which is based in West Des Moines. His email address is

murrayw@iowacreditunions.com.

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