Credit unions must find new ways to help members in a challenging economy

Who could’ve predicted the past few years and what they would mean to all of us financially? According to a recent Consumer Affairs study, 50% of Americans are struggling to pay their bills on time. And for many, that includes their student loans.

Student loans fall just behind mortgages as the second-largest type of consumer debt, and 7.89% of those are private student loans. The average student graduates with around $30,000 in loan debt, and with only federal student loans eligible for loan forgiveness programs, private student loan debt is not going away.

Americans experiencing rising debt post-pandemic

During the pandemic, many people improved their finances due to wage increases, stimulus payments, paused loan payments, and less spending due to lockdowns and quarantines. However, post-pandemic has shown a different picture emerging as Americans have begun to overspend again. At the end of last year, U.S. household debt totaled $14.89 trillion according to Moody’s Analytics. People are accumulating record credit card debt as inflation outpaces wages for the first time in years. It’s simply just getting harder for people to keep up.

Considering the average student graduates college with more than $30,000 in student loans (more if you add graduate school), you can see how making monthly payments on top of other bills may be tough right now.


continue reading »