In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes…unless you happen to be a credit union.

In that case, the second certainty might have more to do with banks fighting to make that certain for credit unions. Or, as Congress gears up to tackle tax reform, perhaps we should instead refer to it as the great uncertainty facing credit unions.

I have attended more credit union conferences than I care to admit, and I honestly couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard thunderous applause from credit unions as (yet another) politician tells them their tax exemption is safe.

Indeed, I’ve heard it so many times that I have often joked that once or twice a year, credit union and bank trade association executives meet clandestinely to agree to haul out the tax exemption as the bogeyman to scare their members into paying their dues – neither side really believing anything will change, but it’s a fabulously effective rallying cry for both of them.

After all, how many times has one elected official or another tried to tackle reform with the stentorious claim: “This time, everything’s on the table!”

Every time I have heard this, I have quietly shrugged my shoulders, confident that banker trades will whip their members into a frenzy of griping about the CU tax exemption, CU trades will similarly rally their troops to defend the exemption – and lawmakers will just smile and nod, knowing either that the plan is going nowhere anyway, or even if it does, CUs’ tax status will remain untouched.

But cynic that I am, even I have to admit that this time just might be different – because after the last presidential election, it seems like nothing is quite the same.

Editor in Chief Lisa Freeman can be reached at