Updated 2018 Economic Impact Report now Available for Northwest Credit Unions


Click to view the full 2018 ECONorthwest report.

Credit unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington drove a $7.8 billion economic impact last year, according to a new, independent analysis performed by economists at ECONorthwest, the region’s largest economic consulting firm.   

The report, “2018 Economic Impacts of Credit Unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington,” was commissioned by the Northwest Credit Union Association. It measures benefits to credit union members, economic output, and income supported by credit unions.  

The report breaks down the data across the Northwest, in each state, in each Congressional District, and at the individual credit union level. The analysis will be shared with federal elected officials during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in March, and with the Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state legislatures this month. 

“It’s our policy officials who originally gave us the opportunity to be cooperatives in this marketplace,” said Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO. “That authority came with the promise that real, tangible benefits would be delivered to the participants, the consumers, and the markets that credit unions serve. The economic report gives an opportunity for credit union stories to be told.” 

An Economic Boost of $7.8 Billion 

The state-by-state analysis found that Idaho credit unions delivered a nearly $780 million boost to the state’s economy; Oregon credit unions drove a positive $1.8 billion impact; and Washington credit unions delivered a $5.1 billion impact, the analysis found. 

Credit Unions Unique Impact—Direct Benefits to Members 

Members of Northwest credit unions received $603 million in direct benefits from their credit unions. This investment in members is a benefit only not-for-profit cooperative credit unions can deliver, because they don’t pay Wall Street stockholders, as for-profit financial institutions do. When the $603 million in benefits were reinvested in local communities, ECONorthwest found, the total “buying power” benefit was $1.3 billion. 

A Clear Choice for Consumers 

Currently, 7.3 million Northwest consumers—more than 55 percent of the region’s population—belong to a credit union either headquartered in or located in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Since ECONorthwest’s last analysis of Idaho credit unions in 2017, an additional 75,000 consumers have made the cooperative choice, bringing membership to 992,000. Oregon membership has grown 14 percent since ECONorthwest’s last analysis of the Beaver State’s credit unions in 2016, and now exceeds two million members. In Washington, 58 percent of the population now belongs to a credit union—4.3 million people. 

Workforce Support 

It’s not unusual for credit union employees to love their jobs. After all, they are helping people start businesses and buy dream homes, and as cooperatives, their community impact ethic is strong. But credit union jobs also positively impact the economy. The region’s credit unions employ 18,700 professionals. Each job in a credit union supports approximately 1.5 others in the workforce, meaning credit unions supported a total workforce of 46,810 people. Family-wage income supported by credit unions was nearly $3 billion, the report found. 

Resources for Credit Unions 

On Friday, Jan. 18, your Association will add a toolkit to the Marketing Resource Center to help you share this positive news with your members and local media. We’re providing infographics, social media posts, sample news media outreach, and animated videos for each state. Credit unions, please alert your marketing teams to watch for these additions to the Marketing Resource Center. All of these resources have proven to be valuable tools in our advocacy and public awareness missions. 

Your Association has created an animated video for each state – Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Please visit our Marketing Resource Center Friday, Jan. 18, to access these videos and more economic impact messaging tools.

Editor’s note: Each participating credit union will receive a customized report detailing its economic impact in February.

Posted in Economy.