The League Site
Wisconsin CU League News Release - 10/18/2010

 

Effort pioneered by Wisconsin credit unions returns $7 billion annually to consumers nationwide

 


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Chris Henzig
Director of Communications
(262)549-0200, Ext. 6019
chenzig@theleague.coop

 

Chad Helminak
Web Producer and Media Relations Manager
(262) 549-0200, Ext. 6012
chelminak@theleague.coop

 


$2 million saved by youth is second fact to celebrate during International Credit Union Week, Oct. 17-23


Pewaukee, Wis. – A credit union initiative that started in Wisconsin called REAL Solutions is saving $200 million annually on a full range of financial services for 2.2 million consumers across the state. Nationwide, REAL Solutions now involves more than 1,100 credit unions from 37 states and is returning $7 billion in annual benefits to 90 million Americans who are their members. Those figures do not reflect millions of dollars in additional value credit unions deliver via more “intangible” services to members as well as local communities.

Through REAL Solutions, the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation, these not-for-profit financial institutions serve their members and communities regardless of profit. Because credit unions exist to serve their member-owners, not drive profits, they make decisions in members’ best interests. In Wisconsin, the effort captured a Governor’s Financial Literacy Award.

In addition to the billions of dollars U.S. credit unions save members with lower fees and more competitive rates on loans and savings accounts is the value they provide through services like free financial counseling, free tax preparation for low-income filers, programs to improve borrowers’ creditworthiness, outreach to new Americans, financial education within schools, charitable support and much more.

“REAL Solutions isn’t about any particular service. It’s credit unions’ continued commitment to doing the right thing,” says League President & CEO Brett Thompson. “Not every financial institution will go as far as credit unions to accomplish good. So preserving credit unions offers consumers a route to help themselves and their communities.”

Brewery Credit Union in Milwaukee, for example, was the first to join REAL Solutions in 2004. It has used research by the Filene Research Institute to save members $800,000 by providing less-costly alternatives to payday loans. This year Brewery – which serves the predominantly low-income community in the near-downtown area – will use some newly acquired funding, in part, to help 40 new families become homeowners.

Editor’s Note: The REAL Solutions logo to accompany this story is posted on www.theleague.coop/multimedia.