Consumers improve financial stability, local communities using credit unions

Special to The Freeman

Jan. 19, 2015

PEWAUKEE – Credit unions have saved consumers over $1 billion since the beginning of the recession while helping Wisconsin citizens improve their personal financial management.

Credit unions’ consumer-ownership allowed them to volunteer more than 40,000 hours to community organizations and raise more than $1 million for local causes in 2014 alone.

The Wisconsin Credit Union League’s 2014 Scorecard, a report detailing credit unions’ economic impact and social responsibility, describes these and many other valuable impacts Wisconsin’s credit unions provided in the past 12 months.

The Scorecard also cites credit unions’ leadership as youth financial educators. They operate more than 100 in-school, student-run branches that instill saving habits and engage tens of thousands of students in financial education by providing 16,000 personal finance magazines that help high schools teach money management. Students even benefited from $200,000 in credit union-issued scholarships.

Additionally, credit unions granted small, low-interest loans as an alternative to costly payday loans, issued $12.8 billion in safe and affordable mortgages, and offered members 30,000 no-fee ATMs and 5,000 branches through a nationwide collaboration to improve convenience. All told, a young person in Wisconsin stands to save $117,000 over a lifetime using a credit union for borrowing and saving. 

Since the start of the Great Recession, credit unions also increased their small business lending by 94 percent, offering close to $3 billion in small loans to compensate for a lack of available business credit elsewhere.

Read the Scorecard at www.theleague.coop/Scorecard.