NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa. (1/8/16)--Through their cooperative structure, Iowa credit unions helped more than 1 million state consumers save roughly $100 million last year compared with what they would have paid for similar services at a bank, Jeff Disterhoft, president/CEO of the University of Iowa Community CU (UICCU), North Liberty, Iowa noted in opinion-editorial that ran in the Dec. 29 edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
“Founded in the philosophy of ‘people helping people," credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that return their earnings to members in the form of better rates on loans and deposits, as well as lower fees,”Disterhoft wrote.
Iowa's credit unions also have a positive impact on the local economy, he noted. A new economic report from Iowa State University found Iowa credit unions contributed $1.1 billion in economic productivity to the state's economy in 2014.
Every $1 spent by Iowa's credit unions added another 77 cents of value to the economy, and every job at an Iowa credit union created an additional 1.28 jobs elsewhere in the state. When the direct and indirect jobs created by Iowa credit unions are combined, Iowa credit unions contribute 7,402 jobs paying $349 million in wages to the Iowa economy.
Iowa's credit unions also have a direct impact in their local communities, and Disterhoft cited his credit union as an example. Last year, UICCU committed more than $800,000 to local events and provided 4,500 volunteer hours.
Disterhoft also outlined the latest legislative priorities for Iowa credit unions. “As we look ahead to the next state legislative session, credit union advocates will be asking state policymakers to support the cooperative tax structure of our not-for-profit financial institutions, allowing credit unions to put the interest of members ahead of the motivation for profits,”he wrote.
In addition, credit unions will be advocating for increased funding for valuable financial literacy programs, such as the Iowa Credit Union Foundation's statewide Individual Development Account program, a matched savings program that helps Iowans save for an asset that will help them improve their lives.
“Iowa's credit unions help their members save money, support local communities and provide a significant boost to the state's economy,”Disterhoft wrote. “Iowans win when there is choice and competition in the marketplace. With more than 1 million credit union members in Iowa, our state legislators can help their constituents by supporting Iowa's credit unions.”