The Huntsville Times published my "letter to the editor" this past weekend. I appreciate the newspaper publishing this submission. Below is the text of the letter;
Rep. Mike Ball and Sen. Bill Holtzclaw have filed bills in the House and Senate that would allow credit unions to become qualified public depositories. HB 315 and SB 299 seek to give credit unions the ability to accept public deposits, providing municipalities such as fire departments, schools, libraries, and local government entities a choice in where to put their money.
There is no legitimate reason credit unions should be prevented from being public depositories. Municipalities deserve the right to choose where to deposit their money. Credit unions are locally-owned and federally insured. Credit union profits get returned to the membership through lower fees, better loan rates, and better returns on deposits. Permitting credit unions to compete for deposits not only helps keep bank savings rates higher, it creates flexibility for municipalities and the opportunity for higher yields on the public deposits.
At a time when local and state government are tightening their budgets to find effective ways of managing public money, credit unions should not be forced to turn them away. This legislation is about choice – and the choice should be in the hands of municipalities working for the public, not in the hands of banks working for themselves. Thirty-three other states allow credit unions to accept public deposits, it’s time Alabama gives its municipalities a choice.
Greg A. Olmsted, President/CEO
North Alabama Educators Credit Union