Wisconsin Credit Unions Save Their Members More Than $157 Million Annually

PEWAUKEE, Wis., May 31 /PRNewswire/ — More than two million people in Wisconsin shared the equivalent of a lofty, lottery jackpot last year, but it wasn’t because they chipped in for the winning ticket — they just belonged to a credit union.

Wisconsin credit unions — not-for-profit financial institutions owned by their members — provided more than $157 million in financial benefits to members during the twelve months ending in June 2006. Members saved nearly $80 million because their credit unions offer lower interest rates on loans; $32 million because credit unions have higher deposit interest rates; and $45 million because credit unions have fewer and lower fees compared to for-profit banks.

“Credit unions are looking out for the best interest of their member-owners, not stockholders,” says Brett Thompson, President & CEO of The Wisconsin Credit Union League, the trade association representing more than 260 credit unions. “Because of this, credit unions are able to help their members save more and provide them with financial solutions other institutions would deem ‘unprofitable’.”

The average benefit was around $143 per member household. Furthermore, loyal members — those who use the credit union extensively — often receive total financial benefits that are much greater than the average.

Even consumers who use a credit union’s services occasionally can benefit greatly compared to using a bank. For example, by financing a $25,000 new car for 60 months at a credit union, the average Wisconsin credit union member would have saved approximately $136 in 2006 and about $700 over the life of the loan.

Thompson also notes that credit unions provide meaningful competition in the marketplace and keep banks in check. “If credit unions weren’t around, banks wouldn’t have incentive to offer fair pricing to their customers.”

Due to credit union competition, bank customers save an estimated $4.3 billion annually.

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 in the form of more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.1 million Wisconsin residents belong to credit unions, of which nearly half are open to the local community. People can find a credit union to join by looking in the phone book or by visiting http://www.creditunion.coop/.

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Source: The Wisconsin Credit Union League

CONTACT: Chad Helminak of The Wisconsin Credit Union League,
800-242-0833, ext. 3166,
[email protected]

Web site: http://www.wcul.org/