Wisconsin credit unions saved consumers $1 billion since recession

915767_300The latest scorecard report by The Wisconsin Credit Union League revealed that credit unions have saved consumers almost $1 billion since the start of the financial crisis through lower fees and competitive interest rates.

Wisconsin credit unions operate 100 in-school branches that have saved students $3 million and allowed them to gain business experience. Credit unions across Wisconsin operate 40 percent of all financial institutions in low-income areas, and most credit unions still offer free checking.

“Credit unions are united for good,” WCUL President and CEO Brett Thompson said. “The scorecard provides a clear picture of how credit unions build financially strong, self-sufficient families, business and communities in Wisconsin.”

Since the beginning of the recession, Wisconsin credit unions increased small business lending by 55 percent to compensate for unwillingness by big banks to extend business credit.

The Credit Union National Association has urged Congress to increase credit unions’ member business lending cap to 27.5 percent of assets from the current 12.25 percent in order to open up $13 billion of business loans for the economy and create up to 140,000 new jobs.

Additionally, most credit unions offered loans to members with $500 or less as an alternative to risky and often costly payday loans. Credit unions outperformed non-credit union lenders, with loan approval rates of 67.7 percent for low-income home loans and 70.4 percent for minority home loans, compared to non-credit union rates of 57.1 percent and 56.5 percent, respectively.

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