Stewart Thomas has banked at Sunstate Credit Union in Gainesville for 25 years.
“They’re community based. All the money deposited in the banks is used for loans inside the community,” said Thomas.
Right now, his account earns more interest there than it would at a bank. That’s partially because of credit unions’ tax-free status.
Organizations like the American Banking Association are lobbying for credit unions to be taxed.
The argument is that because banks and credit unions are after some of the same business—savings accounts, car loans and commercial loans.
According to University of Florida Emeritus Banking Scholar Arnold Heggested, that would help level the playing field.
“Taxing the unions would cut around $2 billion from the federal deficit every year,” said Heggested. “It will help a little. A billion here and there begins to add up.”
Now, Campus USA Credit Unions is asking their members to write lawmakers, to keep their tax-free status. Campus USA is located in Alachua, Columbia, Leon and Marion counties.
Still, according to Heggested, taxing credit unions’ income is unlikely.
“The banks have been lobbying for 60 years and haven’t gotten it yet,” said Heggested. “Given so many people are members and believe in them, I think it’d be a real surprise to see that tax go up.”