April, 2013

Wisconsin Credit Unions' Structure Benefits Consumers

Credit unions are socially responsible and deliver tremendous value for consumers and communities. Wisconsin Credit union members have saved approximately $1 billion since the start of the Great Recession in 2007 through competitive rates on savings and loans and lower and fewer fees for financial services, according to the Wisconsin Credit Union League's 2012-2013 Scorecard.

Wisconsin credit unions are able to provide such savings and value to their members and communities because as not-for-profit financial institutions, their priorities and decisions revolve around the needs of their member-owners, not stockholders. These services have been often recognized—including through seven top honors in seven years for improving the financial savvy of Wisconsin citizens, supporting charitable and community organizations and preserving low fees for financial services.

And while credit unions are organized as cooperatively owned financial institutions, they still pay many millions of dollars a year in taxes. And like dozens of for-profit banks, not-for-profit credit unions do not pay corporate income tax. Credit unions have earned that tax status by decades of accomplishments and an unwavering commitment to their members' and communities' best interests.

Credit unions earn their current tax status by:

  • Operating 100 in-school branches that have helped students save $3 million and get hands-on business experience;

  • Delivering 5,500 presentations to 34,000 consumers to improve their financial savvy;

  • Providing 41,330 copies of a personal finance magazine to help 382 teachers at 309 high schools teach money management;

  • Engaging close to 15,000 students in financial decision-making through reality fairs and the online game Money Mission®.

  • Operating 40% of all the financial institution branches in low-income areas, thereby providing $44 million in savings for lower-income consumers;
  • Increasing their lending to small businesses by 55% since the recession began to compensate for a lack of business credit from banks;
  • Offering members very small loans—as modest as $500 or less—as an alternative to costly payday loans;

  • Outperforming non-credit union lenders by approving 67.7% of home laons for low-income borrowers and 70.4% of home loans for minority borrowers, compared to a 57.5% and 56.5% approval rate by others;
  • Offering 30,000 hours of free financial counseling to 20,000 individuals that have prevented home foreclosures and improved borrowers' creditworthiness.

To learn more review the Scorecard!

Find more information online!

More resources from The League

Videos explaining the voluntary REAL Solutions® initiative that delivers these benefits and more!

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