As the battle over credit union expansion simmers at the U.S. Supreme Court and Capitol Hill, one question keeps popping up: Do credit unions have a better record serving low-income consumers than banks?

The answer is not trivial. One reason the government exempted credit unions from taxes was because they are supposed to provide affordable banking services to low-income consumers. They risk losing this $800 million annual tax savings-and their ability to serve employees at multiple companies-if they are seen as the financial playground of middle- and upper-income people.

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