BETTENDORF, Iowa (1/11/16)--Self-titled "reformed banker" Dale Owen, CEO of Ascentra CU, Bettendorf, Iowa, and chair of the Iowa Credit Union Foundation, shared insight on how Iowa credit unions positively impact their communities and the local economy in a Quad City Business Journal guest column.
“As a ‘reformed banker,’ my career has given me a unique perspective into the difference between banks and credit unions,” Owen wrote. “Founded with the philosophy of 'people helping people,' credit unions are a needed choice in the financial services marketplace. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions return earnings to members in the form of better rates on loans and lower fees.
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.
Just as important, Owen wrote, credit unions are dedicated to serving their communities. In 2014, Ascentra and IH Mississippi Valley CU received their Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) designation through the U.S. Treasury Department, which grants opportunities to help financial institutions further initiatives to serve the underserved in their communities.
Credit unions reflect their priorities in their legislative activities, according to Owen.
“As we look ahead to the 2016 state legislative session, credit union advocates will be asking state policymakers to support the cooperative tax structure of our not-for-profit financial institutions,” Owen wrote. “This allows credit unions to put the interest of members ahead of the motivation for profits.