Letters to the Editor

23-year-old letter rings true today

In response to the guest column by John Sorensen of the Iowa Bankers Association (“Why Iowa’s biggest credit union should start apologizing,” Jan. 13), the following is from a letter I wrote to House Majority Leader Brent Siegrist 23 years ago:

“It appears a perennial issue has surfaced again. I refer to the continuing effort by commercial bankers to increase credit union taxation.

“I managed the former Harnischfeger Employees Credit Union from 1969 to 1975. The bankers had already been harping on this subject for 30 years at that time. They’re still gnawing on the same old bone.

“They complain that credit unions offer many of the same services as banks. They piously wail that all they are asking for is a level playing field. They’re comparing apples to oranges.

“Banks operate for profit. Bank directors make handsome salaries. Their priority is to make decisions that benefit their stockholders, not their customers.

“Conversely, credit unions are nonprofit cooperatives. Their volunteer directors are unpaid. Credit unions exist to serve.

“This is the main reason credit unions have lower operating costs. Bankers claim their expense of doing business is greater because they pay higher taxes. That’s a smoke-screen. They charge more so they can compensate their directors and make profits for their stockholders.

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“Please don’t give your endorsement to legislation that would have an adverse effect on the services the state’s not-for-profit credit unions are providing for thousands of member/owners.”

The beat goes on.

Dean Varner

Cedar Rapids

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