The thing is, Ben Franklin didn’t have a credit union

Credit Union Journal - - Editor’s Note -

IN THIS WORLD NOTH­ING CAN BE SAID TO BE CER-tain ex­cept death and taxes…un­less you hap­pen to be a credit union.

In that case, the sec­ond cer­tainty might have more to do with banks fight­ing to make that cer­tain for credit unions. Or, as Congress gears up to tackle tax re­form, per­haps we should in­stead re­fer to it as the great un­cer­tainty fac­ing credit unions.

I have at­tended more credit union con­fer­ences than I care to ad­mit, and I hon­estly couldn’t be­gin to count the num­ber of times I’ve heard thun­der­ous ap­plause from credit unions as (yet an­other) politi­cian tells them their tax ex­emp­tion is safe.

In­deed, I’ve heard it so many times that I have of­ten joked that once or twice a year, credit union and bank trade as­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tives meet clan­des­tinely to agree to haul out the tax ex­emp­tion as the bo­gey­man to scare their mem­bers into pay­ing their dues – nei­ther side re­ally be­liev­ing any­thing will change, but it’s a fab­u­lously ef­fec­tive ral­ly­ing cry for both of them.

Af­ter all, how many times has one elected of­fi­cial or an­other tried to tackle re­form with the sten­to­ri­ous claim: “This time, ev­ery­thing’s on the ta­ble!”

Ev­ery time I have heard this, I have qui­etly shrugged my shoul­ders, con­fi­dent that banker trades will whip their mem­bers into a frenzy of grip­ing about the CU tax ex­emp­tion, CU trades will sim­i­larly rally their troops to de­fend the ex­emp­tion – and law­mak­ers will just smile and nod, know­ing ei­ther that the plan is go­ing nowhere any­way, or even if it does, CUS’ tax sta­tus will re­main un­touched.

But cynic that I am, even I have to ad­mit that this time just might be dif­fer­ent – be­cause af­ter the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, it seems like noth­ing is quite the same.

Edi­tor in Chief Lisa Free­man can be reached at lisa. free­man@source­me­dia.com.

Lisa Free­man Edi­tor in Chief

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