FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (12/3/08)--As Wall Street collapsed and Washington banks received access to more than $700 billion from the government, the state's credit unions remained bailout free, created jobs and expanded access to affordable financial services during third quarter 2008. For the three months ending in September, the state’s credit unions added 469 new jobs, increasing total credit union employment over June by 6.2% to 7,593 full- and part-time employees. During the same period, they also added 17 new branches, expanding access to affordable financial services for the state’s 6.5 million consumers. “Washington’s credit unions were formed during tough times to withstand, and even thrive during tough times,” says Washington Credit Union League President/CEO John Annaloro. “To experience this growth in the face of a massive economic pullback reaffirms the strength of the credit union movement.” Year over year, from September 2007 to September 2008, the state’s growing rank of 2.5 million members increased savings in their share accounts by more than $2 billion (9.5%). Total deposits in Washington-based credit unions now stand at more than $23 billion. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that Washington credit unions provide nearly $321 million annually in direct financial benefits to members--equivalent to $130 per member or $248 per member household. “In addition, every Washingtonian benefits indirectly from the competition provided to banks from credit unions,” says Annaloro. “And, credit unions have never received a single dollar of public bailout money to provide this competition. We do it gladly and can say with pride that America’s credit unions have been bailout free for all of the 100 years they’ve been in existence,” he added. The same is not true for America’s banks, the league said. The estimated price tag for the subprime banking crisis of 2007-08 is $1.8 trillion, which includes last week’s announcement of an additional $800 billion government bailout plan. The current crisis is eclipsed as a single expenditure only by the $3.2 trillion (adjusted for inflation) Americans spent on World War II, said the league. “It’s a pretty simple equation,” says Annaloro. “Banks take money out of the taxpayer’s pocket; credit unions put money into the taxpayer’s pocket.” And it appears as though that trend will continue. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in its most recent quarterly report said there are currently 171 problem banks. This is the highest number since 1995 and represents $115.6 billion in assets, the league said.