CU Tax Exemption Advances With Voters

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WASHINGTON – More voters than ever approve of the credit union tax exemption, according to a new survey conducted by CUNA.

The telephone survey of 1,001 voters conducted by Voter/Consumer Research and CUNA’s long-time pollster Jan. van Lohuizen, found that 68% of voters approve of the tax exemption, a substantial increase from recent years (it was just 50% in 2010).

At the same time, those that disapprove of the tax exemption declined to just 24% (it was 38% in 2010).

As may be expected, the numbers are even stronger among credit union members, with 79% saying they approve of the credit union tax exemption.

The survey found that the not-for-profit status of credit unions is highly valued. Eighty percent of the voters react favorably to the notion that credit unions are not-for-profit financial co-operatives.

When the pros and cons of the credit unions’ tax exempt status are articulated, voters agree with the credit union point of view by a very substantial margin. Typically the case for taxing credit unions is articulated by banks based on the size of some credit unions, indicating their tax exempt status gives large credit unions an unfair competitive advantage over banks. On the credit union side of the argument the point is made that credit unions are non-profits who return earnings to members through dividends and lower interest rates on loans. When asked to choose which line of argument they agree with voters pick the credit union line of argument by a margin of 71% to 24%.

The survey was conducted between Feb. 6 and Feb. 10 and was the ninth annual voter survey conducted for CUNA by the polling firm.


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