CUNA, NAFCU Part of Coalition Advertising on Far-Right Breitbart News

Learn why the credit union groups CUNA and NAFCU are part of a coalition running ads on Breitbart News.

David Baumann


Jul 31



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David Baumann

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David Baumann

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Ads have targeted credit card interchange legislation opposed by credit union groups.

A coalition that includes CUNA, NAFCU and banking trade groups has been advertising their opposition to credit card interchange legislation on Breitbart News—a website that has been widely condemned for racist, misogynistic, homophobic and xenophobic material.

The Electronic Payments Coalition has been running the ads, which say, among other things, “Congress: Don’t Buy What Big Box Retailers Are Selling.”

Coalition members also include Navy Federal Credit Union and PSCU, as well as the Independent Community Bankers of America, the American Bankers Association and several large banks.

Where the Ads Appeared

On one day earlier this month, the coalition’s ads popped up at least seven times when a reader scrolled through the website, formerly edited by Steve Bannon, a former aide to former President Donald Trump. The website also featured sponsored content from the coalition.

On one of the days that the payments coalition advertised, Breitbart featured stories with the headlines:

Corporate Media Help Biden Hide Growing Illegal Migrant Inflow

Biden Family Business Paid $7.3M from Burisma over Years, Including When Joe Biden Was VP

Exclusive — Rand Paul: We Have Referred Fauci to DOJ for Prosecution for Lying to Congress

A current trending topic on the site is “Biden Crime Family,” and the news service has run dozens of stories about Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, some of which have included photos of a semi-clothed Hunter Biden.

Response From Trade Groups

CUNA, NAFCU and Navy Federal referred questions about the advertising to the coalition.

In a statement, Aaron Stetter, Executive Director of the Electronic Payments Coalition, defended the decision to advertise with Breitbart.

“The mission of the EPC is to educate lawmakers and consumers about the benefits of the electronic payments system and the negative consequences that proposed credit card routing mandates would have on consumers, small businesses, and small financial institutions,” he said. “In order to reach key decision-makers in Washington, we utilize a variety of news sites across the political spectrum to get our message in front of lawmakers and consumers wherever they consume news.”

PSCU did not respond to a request for comment.

Additional Context

Many groups have withdrawn ads from Breitbart, citing its ultra-conservative reporting.

For instance, the Washington Post reported in June 2017 that ads on the website had dropped 90% in preceding months and that more than 2,200 companies had asked vendors to pull advertising from the site.

In 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors—among other things—hate speech, said that in 2016 the center had “documented Breitbart’s embrace of extremist ideas and racist tropes such as black-on-white crime and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.”

Potential Impact of the Ads

Financial services trade groups successfully blocked an attempt to add to the Senate version of the annual defense authorization bill a provision that would require the Federal Reserve to issue rules to ensure that large credit unions and banks that currently use the four-party card processing system be required to use at least one affiliated network in addition to Visa and Mastercard.

Credit union and bank trade groups have argued that the proposal would increase costs for the consumers, while retailers contend it would save money.

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