More than 100 advocates joined the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) for Idaho Credit Union Day at the Capitol Jan. 30.
Among the key messages they shared: Gem State credit unions are among the Movement’s highest financial performers, nearly one million Idaho consumers belong to a credit union, and the economic impact driven by credit unions is significant.
A new tool shared with legislators was the 2017 Economic Impacts of Credit Unions in Idaho report, a first-of-its-kind independent analysis performed by economists at ECONorthwest.
The report measured the impact of direct benefits that credit unions as not-for-profit cooperatives, are uniquely positioned to deliver to their members. In addition, economists calculated the impact of jobs, economic output, and income supported by credit unions.
“Fifty five percent of Idaho’s population gets it,” NWCUA President/CEO Troy Stang said. “It’s not about Wall Street It’s about being part of a not-for-profit, cooperative credit union. Those members have their benefits in their pockets, and whether they decide to save it or spend it locally, the ripple effect credit unions have on this state’s economy is $638 million.”
Michael Wilkerson, project director/partner, ECONorthwest, presented details on the report at a luncheon attended by advocates and dozens of legislators.
Wilkerson explained that as not-for-profit, cooperatives, credit unions are uniquely positioned to deliver benefits back to their members, and that in Idaho in 2016, this created $90 million in funds that were available for credit union members to spend. Idaho credit unions’ 2,520 employees each supported 1.2 other jobs in the economy, meaning credit unions supported $274 million in income for Idahoans.
Wilkerson commented on the popularity of credit unions in the Gem State.
“It’s impressive that in 42 of 44 counties, you have 1,000 members,” he said. There are 35 credit unions in Idaho, and 917,400 consumers are members.