Growth of Large-Scale Credit Unions in Iowa: Implications for Public Policy

Over the past two decades, the financial services industry has experienced a significant increase in competition and internal rivalry. Driven by deregulation and advances in information technologies, many historical institutional distinctions among financial intermediaries have disappeared or blurred considerably. The fundamental assumption that has guided many of the policy changes is that consumers are best served when businesses offering the same services are allowed to compete within a similar regulatory or institutional environment. Despite this general leveling of the playing field, credit unions continue to operate under tax and regulatory rules that differ, in important ways, from most of the firms in the financial services industry. Many of the tax and regulatory distinctions arose in the early 20th century during a time when credit unions were being established to meet the needs of individuals or communities that could not or were not being adequately served by commercial banks. However, as the financial services industry has evolved, the justification for continuing or maintaining credit unions'’ tax and regulatory status has been questioned and disputed by bankers and staunchly defended by credit union officials. This report examines recent changes occurring in the structure and performance of credit unions and banks in Iowa. Public policy issues are also addressed.

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Working Paper Series #04031

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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