Northwest Credit Unions Drove $603 Million in Direct Member Benefits in 2018

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Not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions are able to deliver direct benefits to their members, a unique value that for-profit financial institutions instead deliver to Wall Street stockholders.

Northwest credit unions drove $603 million in direct benefits to their members in 2018, and an independent analysis performed by ECONorthwest took a deep dive into just how those benefits helped members, and the economy overall in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. When those benefits were spent in local communities by the 7.3 million Northwest consumers who chose credit union membership, the funds grew to $1.3 billion in total buying power.

ECONorthwest reported that the direct member benefits were based on differences found in not-for-profit credit union pricing and the pricing found at other for-profit financial institutions.

Because of their cooperative structure, credit unions are owned and driven by their members, and exist only to meet their members’ financial needs; they do not pay stockholders. Instead, credit unions return direct benefits to their members in the form of dividends, lower interest rates on loans and credit cards, and better returns on savings accounts.

“These findings once again prove that credit unions are a better value for Main Street consumers because of the give back to members versus to Wall Street,” said Northwest Credit Union Association Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Lynn Heider. “It sends a clear message about the incredible value consumers will find when they join a credit union.”

It’s no surprise credit unions remain a popular choice for Northwest consumers. According to the study,  more than 7.3 million, or 55 percent of the population, prefer to use a credit union for their financial needs.

In Idaho, 992,000 credit union members received $99 million in direct benefits, which grew to $206 million in buying power. Oregon credit unions delivered $152 million in direct benefits to 2.05 million members, generating $333 million in total buying power. In Washington, credit unions drove $352 in direct benefits to their 4.3 million members, which resulted in $787 million in total buying power.

You can find more information in the “2018 Economic Impacts of Credit Unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington” report commissioned by the Northwest Credit Union Association and created by ECONorthwest, the region’s largest economic consulting firm. The report details additional 2018 credit union economic impacts, including membership growth, economic support, jobs and income, and their impact on the Northwest and to the economies in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

To help credit unions tell the story of their collective economic impact, please visit your Association’s marketing toolkit, which contains the Northwest Economic Impact Report and Reports for Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, messaging templates, social media posts, infographics, and videos.

Editor’s note: For questions or more information, contact Lynn Heider, NWCUA Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs.

Posted in Economy.