Northwest, Mountain West Credit Unions Prepare for Robust Economic, Community Impact Reports

When the 2023 legislative sessions gavel in, credit union advocates in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming will be prepared. Robust reports will document credit unions’ economic footprint and community impact, information proven to help advance credit union priorities.

As the Northwest Credit Union Association and the Mountain West Credit Union Association prepare to officially merge on July 1, they are collaborating with their members now to prepare for success in the statehouses and federal advocacy next year.

Credit Unions Will Receive the Survey Questions Next Week

The Associations will distribute surveys to member credit unions the week of May 9. Once the economic and community data collection is final, a suite of state and local impact reports and related member stories will be prepared and widely distributed to lawmakers, regulators, consumers, and media early next year. In addition, credit unions will have access to a toolkit of resources to help them share the reports with internal board and staff members, as well as externally in their local marketing and community outreach efforts.

“The data collected will lay the groundwork for a proactive advocacy agenda,” said Jennifer Wagner, EVP, and Chief Advocacy Officer, NWCUA. “These reports help to showcase credit unions as the essential financial services providers they are.”

What the Economic Impact Survey Will Measure

Highly regarded economists at the firm, ECONorthwest, will perform an independent analysis of the data. They will measure credit unions’ economic output, the impact of the industry’s jobs on the economy, direct financial benefits provided to their members, and the ripple effect on the economy when those benefits are spent in local communities.

ECONorthwest has measured Northwest credit unions’ impact several times in the past decade. Their reports are similar to economic analyses shared with policymakers by other major industries such as hospitals, universities, and manufacturers. Such information proves those industries are significant to states’ economies. An example of ECONorthwest’s state-specific economic impact report for Oregon, shared with stakeholders in 2021, is linked here.

What the Community Impact Survey Will Measure

This data collection goes right to the heart of credit unions’ “People Helping People” mission. Credit unions will be asked for data demonstrating how they serve their local communities through special lending and other programs such as services to rural areas and first-time homebuyers, volunteerism, financial education, and more. This work is a signature of the not-for-profit, cooperative Credit Union Movement. An example of credit unions’ community impact report for Washington, shared with stakeholders in early 2022, is linked here.

Sharing Your Data Makes a Difference

“These reports arm advocates with the information they need to pass legislation that creates an operating environment that helps credit unions in the six states to best serve their 12 million members,” said Christine Ruzzi, AVP, Enterprise Engagement for NWCUA. “In addition, the impact reports bring awareness to community partners about the services credit unions provide, and to potential members who want to choose financial partners whose core values align with their own. The time your credit union invests in sharing the data will advance credit unions for years to come.”

Editor’s note: Credit union CEOs should look for information about the data collection in their inboxes the week of May 9. Links to the survey and a tutorial video will be provided. Questions? Contact Christine Ruzzi.

Posted in Community Impact.