Here’s how some large credit unions spend the money they save by not paying federal taxes: Super Bowl commercials to help them get even bigger.
This was not the outcome Congress envisioned when it created credit unions back in the 1930s to serve the underserved and small groups of people with a common bond like teachers and factory workers. Then again, TV was not yet a fixture in American homes and the Super Bowl wasn’t even a gleam in Vince Lombardi’s eye.
Things have changed a lot since then, especially for large credit unions such as the Texas-based UNIFY Financial Credit Union, which serves as the “official” credit union for the Los Angeles Rams, the home team in this year’s Super Bowl. Those who miss UNIFY’s pitch at the big game might still catch their commercial during the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC. There, they’ll see UNIFY and even bigger credit unions, PenFed and Navy Federal, slide down a taxpayer-greased luge of cash to win the gold, silver, and bronze medals for shamelessness.
Why these large, not-for-profit credit unions still enjoy a tax exemption from the federal government while blowing wads of money on splashy ad campaigns at high profile events is a mystery that only Congress can solve.
In the meantime, watch for UNIFY’s commercial during the third quarter of the Super Bowl and know you helped pay for it. No matter who wins the game, taxpayers lose.