ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

Letter Urges Treasury Department to Examine Tax Code Abuses

Washington, D.C. (July 7, 2021) — The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today urged the Treasury Department to examine abuses of the tax code causing increased acquisitions of community banks by tax-exempt credit unions. ICBA also proposed legislation to offset the tax losses imposed by these transactions.

In its letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, ICBA proposed implementing an “exit fee” that would:

  • Tax credit union acquisitions of taxpaying community banks to capture the value of the tax revenue that is lost once the business activity of the acquired bank becomes tax-exempt.
  • Equal 10 percent of the gross value of the acquired bank’s assets or liabilities as shown on its most recent balance sheet, whichever are greater.

“Congress granted credit unions a tax exemption to serve people of modest means—not to subsidize their rapid growth at the expense of taxpaying community banks and the communities they serve,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “ICBA and the nation’s community banks call on the Treasury Department and Congress to address this abuse of the tax code and its impact on local lenders, banking industry consolidation, and reduced regulatory safeguards for low- and moderate-income consumers.”

In its letter to Treasury, ICBA said:

  • The outdated tax code has created large, rapid-growth credit unions that absorb most of the credit union tax subsidy.
  • Bank acquisitions promote harmful consolidation and are the latest phase of the tax-exempt credit union industry’s aggressive growth.
  • There is precedent for imposing an “exit fee” on credit unions removing a taxpayer from the tax base, such as excise taxes on political expenditures of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations.
  • Other legislative solutions include:
    • Full and immediate tax parity between credit unions and banks.
    • Taxing the largest or most growth-oriented credit unions.
    • Taxing credit union commercial lending revenues.
    • Taxing credit union marketing expenditures that exceed a given threshold, such as multi-million-dollar stadium naming rights.
    • Allowing states to tax federal credit unions.
    • Raising regulatory scrutiny of credit union-bank acquisitions.

For more information, visit www.icba.org/wakeup.


About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, over $4.4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.