The Wisconsin Credit Union League recently released its 2014 scorecard, revealing that Wisconsin credit union members accessed 300,000 hours of free financial counseling last year.
“Because credit unions exist to improve the financial position of the consumers who use them, credit unions go where other financial institutions can’t, helping members create budgets, improve credit scores, escape payday loan traps and refinance costly loans,” WCUL President and CEO Brett Thompson said. “This helps Wisconsin citizens make ends meet, weather job losses, prevent foreclosures and free up income to save for a rainy day, education or retirement.”
According to the scorecard, credit unions led the state in financial education, operating 113 in-school and youth-run branches that teach students the importance of saving.
Additionally, in 2013, more than 21,000 students and members took part in Wisconsin credit unions’ learning and reality fairs, including Money Mission—an online game that offers youth financial education through credit union websites.
The report also showed Wisconsin credit unions provided $2.7 billion in small business loans last year and that lending by Wisconsin credit unions has increased by 73 percent since the start of the recession.
Since 2007, according to the scorecard, Wisconsin credit unions saved their members more than $1 billion.
“Credit unions’ competitive rates on savings and loans and lower and fewer fees for financial services benefited the consumers who own them,” Thompson said. “Cooperative ownership matters.”