Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Good Corporate Citizens Also Pay Taxes

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Good Corporate Citizens Also Pay Taxes

Article excerpt

NO DOUBT MANY CREDIT UNION PEOPLE see themselves as good corporate citizens. What makes a good corporate citizen? Why might we reasonably raise an objection to credit unions' claim that they belong in this important segment of the business community?

In 2003 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Boston College joined in a study to test the perception of corporate citizenship among American businesses. The goal, they said, was to capture the nuances and complexity of corporate citizenship, and see how businesses can make a real difference in distressed communities. One clear message from the study was, as Suzanne Clark, Chamber COO and president of the Center for Corporate Citizenship put it: "[C]ompanies care about ethics and about contributing to their communities."

The survey of more than 500 small, medium and large companies sought to answer the question: How do companies define "good corporate citizenship?" Many of the companies said it was very important that a business operate with ethical practices, treat employees well and provide safe and reliable products and services.

But the finding that caught my attention was this: 82% of the companies in the study said it was "very important" that a business make a profit, pay taxes, and provide jobs.

Good corporate citizens pay taxes. Dr. Bradley Googins, executive director of the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, said: "Corporate reputation, ability to attract and retain an engaged workforce, and a basic license to operate are just a few examples of why companies are engaging in corporate citizenship."

Because credit unions do not pay taxes, they have not earned that "basic license to operate." Big credit unions especially have flaunted their tax-free status and abandoned serving people of modest means, a mission originally defined for all credit unions by Congress. …

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