News & Information

Three million credit union members in Wisconsin: ownership is the “ultimate disruptor”

by Christine Henzig, Director of Communications Sep 25, 2017

Unite for Good

Pewaukee, Wis. – More than three million consumers have chosen to become members at credit unions – financial institutions owned by the consumers who use them, their members. According to the Wisconsin Credit Union League’s newly released Profile, only seven other states in the country have a larger share of residents using credit unions to manage their finances.

Being member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives allows credit unions to put the financial wellness of consumers and communities first, whether through better rates, lower or fewer fees, improved services or support communities. Since 2007, Wisconsin credit unions have kept close to $2 billion in the pockets of their members.

“While other financial institutions are merging with larger, out-of-state or national institutions, credit unions are a way to maintain local control of your money. Their history of providing safe and sound, valued services to members makes credit unions a trusted community partner,” said League President & CEO Brett Thompson.

Wisconsin credit unions offer consumers: 

  • Free checking. Most credit unions offer this and charge less than banks for returned checks.
  • Lower and fewer fees. Households can save nearly $120 per year on service fees with a credit union. Those who use a credit union extensively often benefit even more.
  • Better rates. For instance, credit union members can save on average $850 in interest to finance a new car compared to using a bank, for a 5-year loan on a $25,000 vehicle. 
  • Free access to 30,000 ATMs – the largest ATM network in the country. Find free ATMs that are part of credit unions’ CO-OP Network online or using a mobile app.
  • 5,500 branches – the nation’s third largest branch network. Members of participating credit unions can visit any credit union in the network – found via app or online – and use it as if it were their own.
  • Financial education. Whether through 100 in-school, student–run branches, reality fairs, free resources or free financial counseling, credit unions help members and communities prepare for any stage of life.
  • Community and member-focused services. Credit unions’ structure ensures credit unions cater to consumers’ needs – whether it be multilingual services, programs for those incarcerated, student loan refinancing, or small dollar business loans that other institutions may shy away from. Credit unions’ cooperative structure ensures member needs align with credit union priorities.

“Now that membership exceeds three million, it’s time credit unions are recognized for what they are - the ultimate disruptor in financial services. Consumers recognize the credit union difference - the business model that puts people, not profits, first.” 

Read more in the Scorecard at www.theleague.coop/scorecard and find a credit union to join at aSmarterChoice.org.


Christine Henzig, Director of Communications
(262) 408-6019​