Study: Northwest Credit Unions Deliver $6.8 Billion Economic Impact

A new economic analysis commissioned by the Northwest Credit Union Association and carried out by the independent firm ECONorthwest discovered that Northwest credit unions, as businesses, drove more than $6.8 billion dollars in economic impact, provided more than 15,000 family-wage jobs and delivered $352 million in direct benefits to their 4.9 million members in 2014.

The study measured the economic impact of credit unions’ not-for-profit business operations in Oregon and Washington, counting the value of the goods and services they produce, the employment they generate, and the direct benefits their unique structure creates for members. The results show that cooperative, member-driven credit unions are foundational to the economy of the Northwest.

Northwest Impact Breakdown

Jobs:

Credit unions provide 15,323 family-wage jobs in the Northwest. Each credit union job supports another 2.02 jobs for workers in other sectors, resulting in a total impact of 46,296 Northwest jobs.

  • Oregon: 4,908 family-wage credit union jobs, supporting 14,108 total Oregon jobs.
  • Washington: 10,415 family-wage credit union jobs, supporting 32,189 total Washington jobs.

 

Direct Member Benefits:

Credit union members received an average direct benefit of $76 per individual member in Washington, while Oregon credit union members received an average direct benefit of $63 per individual member. Collectively, credit unions put $352 million into the wallets of their members. That money went right back into the economy creating a ripple effect buying power of more than $732 million.

  • Oregon: $103 million in direct member benefits, creating ripple effect buying power of $206 million.
  • Washington: $249 million in direct member benefits, creating ripple effect buying power of $525 million.

Total Value of Goods and Services:

Northwest credit unions produced goods and services worth $2.932 billion in 2014. The ripple effect from this value created another $3.912 billion in economic impact in the Northwest, for a total credit union impact of $6.845 billion.

  • Oregon: $859 million in total goods and services, generating total impact of $1.931 billion.
  • Washington: $2.073 billion in total goods and services, generating total impact of $4.913 billion.

Building Financial Strength in Northwest Communities

“The ECONorthwest analysis underscores the economic impact of credit unions in Oregon and Washington. In many ways, credit unions are the communities they serve,” said Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association. “It is the not-for-profit financial cooperative business structure that credit unions operate under that makes them unique; they deliver real, tangible value to the economy.”

The report also found that in Northwest rural communities, about 617,500 consumers are members of credit unions, representing 37% of the rural population in Oregon and Washington. Credit unions are often the only financial institutions available in many Northwest communities, providing a lifeline of stable financial services to their members.

“Credit unions were created to balance the credit structure of the nation and create a stronger financial foundation for the American people,” said Stang. “This analysis proves that credit unions are fulfilling the role for which they were created.”

The ECONorthwest report includes county, legislative district, state, and region-specific data on the economic impact of credit unions in the Northwest. All of this data and more is included in our Member Toolkit, available to NWCUA members on our website. Also available in the Toolkit are resources to help you message your team, your members, and your community about the impact credit unions like yours are making in the Northwest, including our 2014 Community Impact Reports sharing the heartwarming stories of the real people that credit unions touch.

For more information, dig into our member-only web resources, or see our public resources here.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in NWCUA.