Oregon Credit Unions Contribute $2.8 Billion Economic Impact to State

Landmark study documents economic impact, volunteerism, charitable contributions and extraordinary service by credit unions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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CONTACT:
Lynn Heider
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 Tigard, Oregon (March 24, 2021) — Oregon’s credit unions have proved a critical role supporting the state’s economy, consumers, businesses and local communities, according to an analysis performed by ECONorthwest, one of the region’s leading economic firms. The analysis documented a positive impact of nearly $3 billion on the state’s economy. 

How are Credit Unions Able to Drive Such an Impact?
Unlike profit-driven Wall Street banks under pressure to enrich stockholders, credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, owned by their members. Credit unions reinvest their earnings in members through direct benefits such as fewer fees, dividends, lower interest rates on loans and credit cards and more. When those benefits are spent in local communities, the ripple effect helps the entire economy. ECONorthwest measured the impact of member benefits, credit union jobs and other factors in its analysis. Economists also documented credit unions’ significant community impact including volunteerism, financial education provided to adults and students and services such as first-time homebuyer loans. Cooperative credit unions put people before profits! 

Infographic: Oregon Credit Unions’ $2.8 Billion Economic Impact 

Doing Good in Difficult Times
In addition to documenting credit unions’ economic contribution to the state’s economy, ECONorthwest measured the extraordinary services delivered by credit unions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While other industries closed, reduced services or laid off the workforce, credit unions hired additional employees to serve their members. According to the analysis, credit unions also made a higher volume of loans available to members and served as safe havens for consumers who deposited stimulus and unemployment checks to save for emergency needs. During this difficult time, credit unions waived $4.4 million in fees. Oregon credit unions also stepped up to help the state distribute more than $30 million in emergency payments to 60,575 Oregonians. More than 80% of the funds the state set aside were distributed by credit unions. Oregon credit unions also assisted the state in distributing $2.8 million to 568 truly small businesses left behind by other government relief programs – lifeline loans they will not have to repay. 

Infographic: Oregon Credit Unions Came Through for Main Street During COVID Pandemic 

“Credit unions are in the people business,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association. “They stood by their members throughout the pandemic and will help them get back on their feet and prosper into the future.” 

Where it Started
Established during the Great Depression to help consumers who were unable to get financial services from the traditional banking system, today’s credit unions continue living their “people helping people” mission day in and day out. 

Where it’s Going — More Consumers are Choosing Credit Unions
Growing numbers of Oregonians are choosing credit unions as their preferred financial services partners. 

ECONorthwest documented strong credit union membership growth. In Oregon, 2.25 million consumers — 53% of the state’s population — are now members of credit unions, representing 8.5% growth since the last economic analysis in 2018. 

Here for You Now, and Tomorrow
“All consumers can and should choose credit unions as their financial services partner,” Stang said. “If you join a credit union, you are part of something even bigger than financial transactions; you’re a member of a not-for-profit that is invested in your local community.” 

Visit the NWCUA’s 2021 Economic and Community Impact Data website to view the ECONorthwest reports, and to find more infographic resources. 

Everyone should open their eyes to a credit union. For more information, please visit https://yourmoneyfurther.com. 

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The Northwest Credit Union Association is the trade association representing more than 175 not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and their 8.1 million consumer members. As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions look out for their members’ financial well-being.