Van Vleet Shows Credit Union Impact, Stability in Op-Ed

Credit unions are not only foundational to the Oregon economy, they also provide much needed stability in turbulent economic times, argued St. Helens Community Credit Union President and CEO Brooke Van Vleet in an Op-Ed published in the St. Helens Chronicle.

“The economy has been a roller coaster for nearly a decade,” wrote Van Vleet. “While every family felt the shifts of the national and local economies, they still believed in their credit unions.”

Van Vleet cited the recent Northwest Credit Unions’ Economic Impact Report published by ECONorthwest, which shows that credit unions had a $6.8 billion impact on the economies of Oregon and Washington in 2014.

The report also showed that credit union delivered $103 million in direct benefits to their members. These are extra dollars that members can spend in their communities due to the not-for-profit, cooperative structure of credit unions.

“Locally, St. Helens Community had an impact on more than just our members and our employees,” Van Vleet wrote. “We positively affected thousands of families, helped create jobs, and returned hundreds of thousands of dollars into the economy.”

She continued, “We were proud to have delivered $969 thousand dollars of direct benefit to our members in the form of lower fees, higher deposit rates and lower interest rates on loans. That return helped create local jobs, pump money into the local economy, and benefitted numerous nonprofits and schools.”

Van Vleet pointed out that the impact of credit unions does not stop with credit union members. “While we cannot track exactly where every dollar had an impact, we can see that with credit union members saving, spending, investing and borrowing, good things happened,” she wrote. “Entrepreneurs started new companies, more jobs were created, communities found added stability, and additional homes were built.”

The Impact Report was commissioned by the NWCUA and can be accessed, along with many other member-only resources, on your Association website. A public-facing site offers the executive summary and other resources for all who are interested, and credit unions are encouraged to share it widely.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

Posted in Economy.