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Busting Credit Unions In Wisconsin! What Will The GOP Think Of Next?

Updated on May 19, 2011

Seizing Credit Union Money? Are There No Ends To Walker's Madness?

Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, and the GOP in Wisconsin, continue to amaze! The state of Wisconsin GOP and their banker buddies are attempting to weaken credit unions. How? Through a conversion process that will make it easier to turn them into banks and effectively steal the ownership from credit union account holders. Credit unions are a great alternative to banks. Their fees are lower, they are owned by their customers, and they provide a welcome alternative to the ever-growing intrusiveness and thievery that is promoted by many traditional financial institutions. Leave it to the Republicans and their banking cronies! Once again, they are pushing the envelope and this time, they must be stopped! Wisconsin, I am officially shocked!

Banks and credit unions are two very different animals. Banks are set up as for profit and credit unions are set up as not for profit. Banks are owned and operated by shareholders, none of whom are required to be customers of the banks. Credit unions, on the other hand, are owned by account holders. They pay small dividends to account holders, based on account balances.

Hidden Neatly In The Budget! Of Course It Is!

Wisconsin has 2.2 million credit-union members. They members each own a portion of their credit unions, based on their account balances. If a credit union has been mismanaged or wants to change to a for-profit bank, there are laws on the books that govern the process of conversion. Banks and credit unions do not have a friendly relationship. They are competition to each other. Banks would probably be very happy if credit unions were outlawed, and the reverse is probably true, as well. While this new law may weaken credit unions, banks will not be satisfied until they are run out of business.

According to Brett Thompson, President of the Wisconsin Credit Union League, this amendment weakens consumer rights. The Wisconsin Business News Source has offered a press release, included below in part:

Wisconsin Credit Union League: Anti-consumer, banker driven provision slipped into the State Budget Bill


"Pewaukee, Wisconsin The coversion of any financial institution from one type of charter to another is a complex matter that should require thoughtful consideration, appropriate information-sharing with stakeholders, and sufficient protections for the financial institution's owners. A Wisconsin credit union whose management or board of directors wishes to convert to a bank already has two avenues by which it can bring its plan to its member owners for their vote. In spite of those facts, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee today voted to include language in the state budget bill that would make it easier for Wisconsin's 2.2 million credit union members to be stripped of their permitting direct conversion from a credit union to a bank charter..." According to Brett Thompson, President of the Wisconsin Credit Union League, the Wisconsin Banker's Association requested the provision. Thompson states, "They have made clear their intent to harm or eliminate not-fo-profit credit unions and have no business determining public policy on behalf of Wisconsin credit union members." He speaks of the banking association having represented dozens of bailed out for-profit banks. He complains that the banking giants have snatched billions of dollars in TARP money and are now making every effort to reduce competition.

Clearly, the credit unions in Wisconsin think it is an issue that for-profit banks are trying to have legislation directed at the control of credit unions be placed in a budget bill. I am sure that if credit unions proposed legislation that directly affected banks, the banking associations would be equally disturbed and angry. Especially if the legislation was adopted without input from the other party.

How This Would Change Current Law!

Right now, there are laws in place that require credit unions to return any 'dividends' to members before becoming a bank. According to the Credit Union National Association, the proposed legislation does not require the return of the funds.

Many do not understand why it is important to have this new option included in a budget bill. They believe that any change in this type of law should be open to public debate and input. Otherwise, it becomes easier to put credit unions out of business. It also becomes easier and more attractive to convert credit unions to banks. The fear is that alone could be motivation for unethical people to convert and run away with assets.

Money and profit always cause the unscrupulous to come slithering out of the woodwork. Why should the state make it easier for assets to be kept from the rightful owners? Maybe because the state has profit motives, too. Because credit unions are not for profit, they do not pay taxes. Banks do. The state would make more money if credit unions were out of the picture, too. Clearly, this new 'process' is a little slimy sounding.

At the very least, the insertion of this clause should be investigated. I am not a banking expert. Far from it! I just question motives. The motive for this action? The possibility that something done without public knowledge is suspect? There has been no public outcry for this type of legislation. There has been no demonstrated need. Suspect? Definitely! Sinister? Probably!

Walker Is Seeking Power Over Every Area Of Government In Wisconsin!

Scott Walker has, since the beginning of his term, sought to increase the power of the governor's office. Everything that Walker has done has been an effort to position the governor's office as the power broker in Wisconsin. He first lined up big business as an ally by giving them major tax cuts. He then, in an effort to pay for the tax cuts, sought to destroy public sector unions and destroy the ability to collectively bargain in the state. He has added more political appointees (that answer to him) to state agencies, so that those agencies may not act without Walker's approval. He chooses the appointees. It stands to reason that these appointees will want to keep their new jobs, so they will step cautiously, even if they disagree with their boss.

What else has Walker done, to position himself as the ultimate and only power in Wisconsin? Let's make a small list:

  • Most recently, Walker unveiled a plan to change the state's Department of Natural Resources into an agency that is dedicated to hand out permits without regards to the red tape of environmental rules and regulations of the state. The hiring for the agency would fall under Walker's domain. The proposal, according to most of those opposed to it, would be an attempt to permit business to proceed with plans while giving no thought to the environment. This amounts to favors for business and less protection for the citizens of Wisconsin.
  • Walker's interference in the state run Badger Care program (Medicaid), which is currently used by 20% of Wisconsinites may end up changing Medicaid in the state so much that fewer people will qualify (tightening eligibility), offer less services and even give Walker control over the amount of reimbursement paid to physicians and hospitals.
  • Walker has decided that the state's food stamp program could be better run by a private agency, of his choosing. Even though Walker risks losing federal money, he is insistent that his plans for this go forward. Walker insists this will save money, in spite of some estimates that say admin costs could equal 20% of the program.
  • Walker has proposed changes in the state's unemployment compensation program that would entitle the state to Federal money, even though the state's unemployment level is below the national average. Wisconsin's unemployment rate is right around 8%, and that does not qualify for federal extension money. By changing the way that unemployment compensation is calculated in the state, Walker and his aides plan to pull a fast one on the federal government, thereby hoping to receive $89 million dollars from the Fed, while reducing the amount that the state's fund will have to pay. Walker is nothing, if not a fuzzy math major. If his plan succeeds, he will be basically stealing from the Federal Government. Of course, Walker doesn't call it theft, he calls it an adjustment.
  • As early as February, Walker decided that many energy facilities in the state could be worth some money. His Budget Repair Bill made it possible to sell state-owned energy companies to private buyers. He alone will determine the price as well as the buyers.
  • In an effort to privatize education in the state, Walker cut funding to public schools. His plan is to starve public schools out of existence, paving the way for corporate barons to come in and take over.
  • It has been rumored that Walker is going to propose an Emergency Manager's Act, similar to the one passed by the state of Michigan, which allows the governor to determine if cities and school districts are financially sound. If not found to be financially sound, then the governor will be able to appoint private managers, who will have the power to strip school boards and city governments of any legislative authority. Michigan's law allows for the sale of public assets and the removal or firing of entire city governments.

Walker Is Good To His Friends!

In light of all that Scott Walker has done to the people of Wisconsin, it is likely that he will support the will of the banks. Walker himself, may be found to be behind the credit union clause that appears in the new budget. He is, after all, in favor of backing big business in any of their activities throughout the state. Banking is one of the biggest businesses in almost every state and Walker clearly wants them to be happy.


Submit a Comment

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Greg B,

    I hope beyond hope that he is recalled. Not only is he slimy, but he is the forerunner. If he continues, every GOP governor will feel they have been given carte blanche to "follow the leader".

    As is they feel any doubt...But maybe if he is stopped, they will pause!

  • profile image

    Greg B 5 years ago

    There is so much more to Walker's vileness than what makes headline stories. The main talking points against him are like the tip of a very large, filthy iceberg. I think that if all of his slimy dealings and the extent of his quest for control were known, there would be no doubt that he'd lose his recall election by a landslide.

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA


    The Tea Party is a lie- they want government their way and they want the rest of us to be forced to live by their rules. Good luck with that!

  • profile image

    Fay Paxton 6 years ago

    And these are the people who want limited government? I think somewhere there was a spelling error. What they really want is limitless government. Where is the Tea Party who so wanted government out of their lives. What a bunch of idiots.

    Up/useful and awesome, but depressing.