Compare the differences between credit unions and banks
|Credit unions are equally owned and managed by all their members; anyone in good standing can run for the Board of Directors||Banks are owned by their stockholders, with wealthier stockholders having greatest say in how things are run.|
|Credit Unions exist to help consumers build their wealth; measure success through member satisfaction and have severe restrictions on raising capital.||Banks exist to profit through fee income and investments or by raising capital through selling shares and buying or selling acquisitions|
|Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives.||Banks are for-profit businesses that keep their earnings|
|Credit union membership is limited. Not everyone can join, but all members are equal--from workers to small business owners.||Anyone can be a bank customer, but bigger businesses get really good treatment and rates.|
|Credit unions' earnings go back to members as better rates and fewer fees||Bank profits go back to the stockholders, not to the banking customers|
|Credit unions pay all payroll, property, and applicable sales taxes||Banks pay federal income taxes, though many smaller banks are exempt.|
The Value of Credit Unions remaining tax exempt
How do you benefit?
Credit unions provide benefits to members through higher dividend rates on deposits, lower rates on loans, and fewer fees. Credit unions also benefit whole communities by providing healthy competition that helps drive bank rates lower. What bankers are really complaining about is that credit unions have better rates than they do--but despite this, banks have far larger assets and money under their management than credit unions do.
Why are credit unions tax exempt?
The truth is, we pay many of the same taxes that banks do--it's just the corporate earnings tax that we don't pay. Congress decided in 1937 to exempt credit unions from federal income tax because of their unique structure and role in the financial services industry. The tax exemption was reaffirmed by Congress in 1951 and again in 1998. Credit unions continue to provide a valuable alternative to the for-profit banking system serve people who have no other access to financial services.
Could credit unions lose their tax exemption?
The banking industry repeatedly asks legislators to tax credit unions. They say the tax exemption gives credit unions an unfair advantage and hurts bank profits. If that were true, why are banks reporting year after year of record profits? Clearly, the credit union tax exemption has not affected bank profits and continues to help credit unions serve their members well.
Why should credit unions remain exempt from corporate taxes?
For starters, we're cooperatives--not corporations. The facts that convinced Congress to originally grant credit unions their tax exemption remain true today. However, if credit unions lose their tax-exempt status, they will have to pass along their tax payments in higher fees, higher loan rates, and lower savings dividends to their members, just like banks do. In the end, a tax on credit unions is a tax on you.
Why it's important to educate our communities about credit unions
It is vital to educate yourself and your family and friends about the credit union difference. Your voice matters, even though bankers are using lobbying and advertising to help promote their viewpoint. If credit unions have an "unfair tax advantage," then why don't banks become credit unions? They don't because they'd lose their for-profit benefits.