Op-Ed: Credit Unions a ‘$1 Trillion Tax-Exempt Cash Cow’

Many credit unions are functionally no different from banks and the time has come for them to pay taxes, Florida Bankers Association President and CEO Alex Sanchez said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed yesterday. “For almost a century credit unions have been allowed to parade themselves as banks, offering identical services,” he wrote. “Unlike banks, they pay no federal or state corporate income taxes. This loophole should be closed.”

Sanchez cited the example of Florida’s fifth-largest CU, MidFlorida, paying for naming rights for an arena in Tampa while building “lavish” offices and branches. “America’s hometown banks—many of them small businesses of 10, 20, 30 or more employees—cannot afford to purchase the naming rights to amphitheaters or stadiums,” he said. “Not when 40 cents of every dollar of their earnings go to taxes, and not when they must also comply with extensive and expensive regulations.”

He concluded that the “tax code should never provide a competitive advantage to one segment of the financial industry over another, especially one that’s so blatantly outdated.”