Credit Unions in Good Company on Tax Day

Today is tax filing time for consumers and most corporations. State chartered credit unions file Form 990 as a non-profit, exempt from Federal taxes by an IRS ruling.

What do credit unions have in common with the following US corporations? Amazon, IBM, Chevron, Eli Lilly Deere, etc. These companies paid no federal income tax in 2018. These are among sixty large, profitable US corporations on a list compiled by The Center for Public Integrity, which paid no federal income tax. In fact, the group collectively received tax benefits amounting to $4.3 billion that is a negative tax rate!

So, is “good company” a sufficient explanation for the credit union tax exemption? Or should it be good purpose?

A Black Hole

Astronomers capture first image of a black hole

In a worldwide scientific collaboration, scientists were able to create a picture of a black hole using a network of telescopes around the globe.

The discovery raises up questions about conventional physics and previous explanations of the evolution of the universe.

The photo below shows the dark center inside the ring where matter and light are wrapped.

Astronomers capture first image of a black hole
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al. via

However, for credit unions this first ever picture of a black hole was hardly unique. In fact, the cooperative system has been seeing black holes with ever increasing regularity.

On March 29, 2019, the most recent documentation of a black hole was released by the Inspector General’s office showing a black hole of at least $770 million dollars.

This observation was the latest in a series of IG observations going back as far as 2008. See:

  • Material Loss Review of Chester Upland School Employees, O P S EMP, Electrical Inspectors, Triangle Interests % Service Center, Cardozo Lodge, and Servco Federal Credit Unions (2/23/2017)
  • Material Loss Review of Telesis Community Credit Union (3/15/2013)
  • Material Loss Review of Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union (9/22/2011)
  • Material Loss Review of St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union (10/7/2010)
  • Material Loss Review of Norlarco Credit Union (5/11/2009)

Unlike the astronomical black hole most recently observed that “open up questions for scientists to explore about deep fundamental physics and the explanations offered by theories of general relativity and quantum physics, NCUA’s black holes are more readily understood.

The black holes in the NCUSIF’s balance sheet stem from a continuing weakness in transparency and accountability in the Board’s oversight of NCUA. Although the causes are clearly understood there is no indication that these are being addressed. The only question is how many more black holes will be discovered in the future?

What’s with the Statue?

The Seated Boxer, an iconic ancient Greek work of art, shows a grizzled veteran of the ring, equal parts resigned and ready to spring into action. 

What I like is a sense of respite from competition, the powerful athletic physique and the tiredness that surrounds his humanity.  Is he a winner this day? Are there more fights to go?  How will his efforts be remembered?

These are questions that all of us encounter, in literal or figurative ways, in our daily efforts. 

Continue reading “What’s with the Statue?”