Thank you Numerica Credit Union. Thank you Hapo Community Credit Union. Thank you Gesa Credit Union.

These stalwart Tri-Cities institutions are part of the state of Washington's Credit Unions that drove a $5.5 billion dollar economic impact in 2016.

The average credit union customer earned nearly $103 dollars in benefits or $369 million to members collectively. When members spent their benefits in local  communities, that generated $413 million of spending in the state. The return to members is an impressive 50 percent higher than it was two years ago.

More details below.

Pekka Jaakkola Steve Frost

Washington’s Credit Unions Drive $5.5 Billion Economic Impact

As member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions are good for people and communities

SEATAC, WA.—Washington’s credit unions drove a positive, $5.5 billion impact on the state’s economy last year, according to a just-released, independent economic analysis performed by ECONorthwest. The 2016 Northwest Credit Unions’ Economic Impacts report measured jobs, economic output, and income supported by Northwest credit unions, as well as the direct benefits delivered to 3.5 million Washington credit union members.

What’s in it for the members? $369 million in direct benefits last year!

The key difference between local credit unions and other financial services providers, is credit unions’ not-for-profit cooperative structure. Credit unions are owned and driven by the members who use their services. Unlike for-profit financial institutions that must pay stockholders, credit unions exist only to serve their member-owners’ financial needs, and are uniquely positioned to return direct benefits to them. Those benefits include value such as better interest rates, lower fees, and other services that hard-working Washingtonians need.

The 2016 Northwest Credit Unions’ Economic Impacts report finds Washington’s credit unions returned an average benefit of $103 to each member, or $369 million to members collectively. When members spent their benefits in local communities that generated $413 million of spending in the state. “The return to members is an impressive 50 percent higher than it was two years ago, when ECONorthwest performed a similar analysis,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association. “

Consumers’ Financial Lifeline

Credit unions are financial service partners to consumers in 32 of Washington’s 39 counties. Credit unions’ popularity is outpacing the population growth. Since 2014, 637,685 new members have joined a credit union in Washington or Oregon, representing 13 percent growth. The region’s population grew 2.7 percent during the same period.

Loans, Loans, Loans

In addition to the economic impact documented by the 2016 Northwest Credit Unions’ Economic Impacts report, the National Credit Union Administration noted that as of September, 2016, Washington credit unions had more 2.5 million active loans–an investment of $38.1 billion in members and communities.

Nearly all Washington residents are eligible for credit union membership. Own your money. To find a credit union that’s convenient for you, please visit www.asmarterchoice.org.

Read the 2016 Northwest Credit Unions’ Economic Impacts report here: https://nwcua.org/credit-union-impact/