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Wisconsin CU League News Release - 10/21/2010


Families have taken refuge in credit unions during the economic downturn


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Chris Henzig
Director of Communications
(262)549-0200, Ext. 6019


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


Prioritizing people over profit is fourth fact to celebrate during International Credit Union Week, Oct. 17-23

Pewaukee, Wis. – Because of their unique member-ownership structure, credit unions have provided Wisconsin consumers a critical safety net in 2010 – financial services that have not only helped them stay afloat, but have also improved their financial position. All have been objectives of credit unions’ REAL Solutions initiative that helps consumers without regard for profit. The effort has been recognized with a Governor’s Financial Literacy Award.

“Member-owned credit unions offer a safe haven for consumers, particularly those whose financial needs are too small to drive corporate profits,” said Brett A. Thompson, President & CEO of The Wisconsin Credit Union League. “Because credit unions answer only to their member-owners, they step up to help consumers in ways other lenders won’t. And in these economic times, having a lender whose role is to help people, not chase profits, has tremendous value within communities. It’s given the members who jointly own the co-ops a means of self-help.”

During the year, credit unions have:

  • Reconfigured loan terms to help families affected by job losses or health problems make ends meet
  • Consolidated debt at lower rates for consumers when other lenders applied massive rate hikes
  • Sorted out complex financial challenges to help members create or manage a budget
  • Provided free financial counseling or refinancing to prevent home foreclosures
  • Rescued consumers from payday loan traps that had overwhelmed them
  • Granted small loans of $500 or less at modest interest rates
  • Improved or preserved members’ creditworthiness with a variety of special programs and services
  • Conducted free financial seminars for members, schools and community groups
  • Made loans to small businesses to preserve jobs and fill the void for available business credit


Editor’s Note: Through the 1940s, credit unions used a graphic of a little man holding an umbrella to show credit unions’ protection from hard times, sickness and financial distress. Today, an updated version called The Little Guy represents 90 million Americans who still rely on credit unions as their safety net when times get tough. Access these images and the REAL Solutions logo at    


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