Oregon’s Economy Needs Not-For-Profit Credit Unions

A new analysis by the independent economic research firm ECONorthwest found that Oregon’s credit unions generated $1.9 billion in economic impact in 2014.

The realities behind this top-line figure show that not-for-profit cooperative credit unions are foundational to the state’s economy.

Congress created cooperative credit unions in 1934 to balance the credit structure of the nation and to create a stronger financial foundation for the American people. Credit unions were founded with the “people helping people” philosophy, and the cooperative choice for Americans has thrived since the Great Depression when workers pooled their money to make loans to friends and colleagues who had been turned away.

Residents of the Northwest certainly embrace the not-for-profit and member-driven structure of credit unions. According to the ECONorthwest report, there are 1.6 million credit union memberships in Oregon, representing 41.7 percent of the population.

Collectively, Oregon credit unions delivered $103 million in direct benefits to their members in 2014, according to ECONorthwest. Not only members of credit unions benefited. As members reinvested their benefits in their families and communities, it further generated a buying power impact of $206 million.

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