News & Information

Consumers help themselves & communities using credit unions, report says

by Christine Henzig, Director of Communications Feb 09, 2016

Pewaukee, Wis. – The newly released 2015 Scorecard by the Wisconsin Credit Union League details credit unions’ economic impact and social responsibility, revealing the value of the consumer-owned financial institutions to our state and its residents. Credit unions provided more than $1 billion in depositor savings over a decade, and—in just the past year—$3 billion in small business loans, 500,000 hours of free financial counseling, 64,000 volunteer hours, $1 million for local causes and more than 100 youth-run branches.

League President & CEO Brett Thompson noted in the report that credit unions’ structure—as cooperatives—lets them go where other institutions can’t or won’t to help 2.7 million Wisconsin citizens, schools, small businesses and local causes. 

The report shares stories about credit union services that are atypical of other financial institutions:

  • A truck driver saved $10,000 over the term of a small business loan that kept him on the road
  • A single mom got free coaching to pay down debt and save $6,200, reversing years of poor financial habits
  • A school teaches students to save & imparts key job skills using one of credit union’s 100+ youth-run branches
  • A county jail financially prepares women for release with a credit union-designed educational program 

“In addition to providing services that so many consumers value, we’re proud to say Wisconsin’s credit unions are thriving,” Thompson remarked in his opening message.

The report also notes that Wisconsin passed one of the first state laws allowing the formation of credit unions. “The need for a strong credit union industry continues to be reflected in the law today,” the report says, citing a Wisconsin statute that requires credit unions to serve all their depositors at a reasonable cost and help them improve their economic and social conditions.

Wisconsin citizens saved $121 million in 2015 because of lower interest on loans, higher interest on savings and lower and fewer fees, the report says.

“A credit union’s consumer-ownership ensures local decision-making, investment in local causes and provides one of the finest options for consumers to achieve financial and community self-help,” Thompson said. 

“By refinancing loans during job losses or medical crises, granting safe and affordable mortgages, working with students to ensure they don’t over-borrow, teaching young people good financial habits and empowering citizens to save for a rainy day or retirement, credit unions ensure stronger families, communities and economies,” he emphasized.

Read the Scorecard at www.theleague.coop/Scorecard


Contact:
Christine Henzig, Director of Communications
(262) 408-6019‚Äč

Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions that are owned by their members and do not have stockholders. Because they are not-for-profit, they return earnings to members via more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.7 million Wisconsin residents belong to credit unions. Find a credit union to join.