Northwest Credit Unions Deliver for Their Member-Owners. Here’s How.

In January, an independent study of Oregon and Washington credit unions’ economic impact was released, showing how their not-for-profit, cooperative structure delivered $7.7 billion in impact to their members.

By their nature, as not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions are inherently accountable to their members. Because they are owned by their members, credit unions return financial benefits—such as dividends, lower rates on loans, and higher rates on savings—back to their members.

What kind of returns do credit unions deliver? How about $7.7 billion of total economic impact in 2016, according to the study, released by ECONorthwest. That’s roughly equal to the size of the economies in Medford, OR; and Yakima, WA.

That’s a lot of value in a general sense—companies like Hershey’s and Live Nation reported similar annual revenue. But what does that mean to the individual member, and their community?

Credit union members in Oregon and Washington received $528 million in direct financial benefit, as well—an average of $103-per-member in Washington, and $81-per-member in Oregon. Those are real dollars put back into members’ pockets, rather than sent to Wall St. stockholders. Not only that, but those dollars are reinvested in local communities to the tune of $574 million.

Credit unions help their members manage their finances to their benefit, and also enjoy the ability to secure nearly 3.5 million loans, an investment of $52 billion in their communities. Those loans have helped credit union members start and grow small businesses, purchase cars to get them to and from jobs, and pursue their financial dreams.

Read some of their stories, like Angie, who worked with her credit union to finance her now-thriving preschool in Oregon, or another credit union helping Spanish-speaking members achieve financial stability.

Want the full story? Visit https://nwcua.org/credit-union-impact/ to read the report, and see more stories on how Northwest credit unions deliver for the members that own them.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.