PEWAUKEE, Wis. (2/11/14)--Credit union members in Wisconsin saved more than $103 million in 2013 and $1 billion since 2007, according to the 2013-2014 Wisconsin Credit Union Scorecard, released Monday by the Wisconsin Credit Union League.
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"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," said Brett Thompson, league president/CEO.
"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," he added.
The scorecard focuses on four key areas for the state's 2.4 million members:
- Keeping money in members' pockets;
- Leading in financial education;
- Helping communities and Main Street prosper; and
- Delivering decades of service.
In 2013, nine in 10 Wisconsin credit unions provided free checking, offered loans of $1,000 or less, and adjusted loan terms to help members facing financial hardship due to unemployment, furloughs or temporary job loss.
Wisconsin credit unions saved members $57.7 million on loan interest and $24.8 million on fees. Higher interest on savings put $20.8 million in members' pockets, according to the scorecard.
Financial education is strong within credit unions, which provided 300,000 hours of free financial counseling, operated 113 in-school branches and engaged nearly 21,000 students with reality fairs. They also provided 300,000 hours of free financial counseling.
Since the start of the recession, loans at Wisconsin credit union rose 73%, while loans at banks inched up 1.5%.
Community efforts include over 24,000 hours in volunteer time and more than $1 million raised for local causes.