Cost to Taxpayers

Credit unions’ federal tax exemption costs the U.S. more than $3.1 billion per year. Without reporting requirements holding them accountable to their mission, it remains unclear what exactly taxpayers get in return.  

Cost to Taxpayers icon

Expert Views

Josh Daniels, Libertas Institute
“If Congress wants to make the tax system fairer, lawmakers should focus on unfair tax advantages and loopholes received by certain businesses and industries. To see the most blatant example of one special interest receiving preferential treatment through the tax code, look no further than the ridiculous charity status that allows big credit unions to make millions of dollars without paying a dime in taxes.”
— Deseret News, 2017
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan Institute
“Credit unions were originally given tax-exempt status so that they would service lower-income individuals. The situation has now changed, and the tax law should change with it. As Congress proceeds with tax reform, members should consider uprooting this outdated exemption and no longer picking winners and losers. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize a credit union’s name on a stadium, or people’s purchases of aircraft and boats.”
— U.S. News, 2017
Brandon Arnold, National Taxpayers Union
“Congress could review the tax exemption currently provided to all credit unions, bearing in mind there are now 281 credit unions that hold over $1 billion in assets or more. Congress should examine whether this exemption should be phased down or capped, while at the same time helping to create a more navigable regulatory on-ramp that would make it easier for such entities to charter themselves as banks.”
— National Taxpayers Union, 2017
Previous slide
Next slide

Large Credit Unions’ Abuse of Their Tax Exemption

Recent News and Insights


The Postal Government Employees Credit Union in Providence struggled with a loss of $820,249 in 2017 due to unsound loans to taxi medallions. Similarly, 360 Federal Credit Union reported a loss of almost $3.12 million for 2017, citing the same issues.


California’s largest credit union, Golden 1, bought the naming rights to the NBA arena that houses the Sacramento Kings for a reported $120 million, and advertises it offers “the same products, services, and stability you’d find at a traditional bank.”


In 2016, Nevada’s Greater Nevada Credit Union began a multi-year naming rights agreement with the home venue of the Reno Aces Baseball Club and Reno 1868 Football Club to be known as Greater Nevada Field. This type of sponsorship typically costs a minimum of six figures annually.

See the impact on taxes in your state.

Tell Congress it’s time to reform credit unions.