July 2012

Credit unions helped their 2.2 million members during challenging economic times

Credit unions have done a lot to help the 2.2 million people who own them. Because the not-for-profit co-ops answer only to their member-owners and needn't chase profits, they've helped countless individuals and improved the quality of life in their communities. Credit unions have:

  • Returned $202 million to Wisconsin families in the form of lower fees and more competitive rates on loans and savings accounts. But beyond this, credit unions look for other ways to help members save and build wealth as part of their REAL Solutions initiative. That has involved doing whatever credit unions deem is in members' best interests, such as providing free financial counseling, programs to improve borrowers' creditworthiness, outreach to new Americans, free tax preparation for low income filers and more.

  • Helped students accumulate more than $3 million in savings, held in accounts at 97 in-school credit union branches run by and for young people. The branches, which are fully regulated and adult supervised, help elementary through high school students learn to save regularly and hone leadership skills. Because the branches focus on saving, not lending, they don't drive profits. Rather, they're offered as an investment in youth and the community.

Made students more money savvy. Credit unions provide free to public high schools the brass|STUDENT PROGRAM, a lifestyle money magazine and online resources for teachers and students that support state teaching standards. The program has helped teachers - at no cost to schools or taxpayers - teach the personal finance skills the next generation needs to become financially literate and contributors to the state economy. Financial workshops, teacher sponsorships and more have expanded credit unions' outreach.

  • Helped consumers weather the economic downturn. Credit unions have gone where other lenders haven't to help families stay afloat and improve their financial position. For example, they've adjusted loan terms, consolidated debt at lower rates, made affordable short-term loans and provided free financial counseling. This has helped many people - including those faced with illness or unemployment - make ends meet and preserve or improve their creditworthiness.

  • Outperformed other lenders in mortgage approvals to low-income and minority borrowers. Low income mortgage borrowers' approval rate was 65.2% at Wisconsin credit unions compared to 56.6% at non-credit union lenders. For minority mortgage applicants, the credit union approval rate here was 71.1% compared to 57.2% at non-credit union lenders.

Find more information online!

Click here for more resources from The League

Click here to view videos of credit union members explaining our REAL Solutions initiative

View our Scorecard, which details how credit unions deliver value to their members

Tom Liebe, Vice President of Government Affairs
(608) 514-0082 • tliebe@theleague.coopwww.theleague.coop
Credit Union House: 1 East Main St., Suite 101, Madison, WI 53703-5109