100M memberships reached at U.S. credit unions; millions of dollars saved in Wisconsin annually

PEWAUKEE, WI (August 6, 2014) —  U.S. credit unions have added their 100 millionth membership, and Wisconsin credit unions are sharing the news about the millions of dollars in annual savings that credit unions offer consumers each year and how they help their depositors in ways that other financial institutions cannot.

“Adding the 100 millionth membership is exciting but somewhat abstract,” said Wisconsin Credit Union League President Brett Thompson. “Where people really find meaning in is the significant savings that credit unions’ unique ownership structure offers them. Anyone looking to stretch a paycheck farther can save mightily—from hundreds to thousands of dollars annually—depending on the financial services they use. It’s no wonder 1 in every 3 Americans has chosen the credit union difference.”

Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, so it’s local depositors, rather than outside shareholders, who benefit from their credit union’s operations. By using a credit union instead of a bank, the average Wisconsin consumer can save $635 in interest on a new car loan, pay four percentage points less in interest on a credit card balance—providing hundreds or thousands of dollars in annual savings—and access free checking.

Credit unions also offer small loans at reasonable rates—an alternative to high-cost loans from payday lenders. Credit unions’ free financial counseling—to help families set budgets, weather a job loss or illness, or lower borrowing costs via improved credit scores—has helped countless families make ends meet. Affordable mortgages, loans for small businesses and support for more than 3,000 local causes have also strengthened families and communities.

Last year 2.4 million Wisconsin consumers saved almost $100 million thanks to their credit unions’ more consumer-friendly rates on loans and savings accounts and lower and fewer fees, and millions more beyond that by refinancing loans obtained elsewhere at credit unions’ lower rates. The sooner a young person begins using a credit union the more he or she can save over a lifetime, now estimated at around $117,000. The Scorecard cites credit unions’ more than $1 billion in savings for Wisconsin consumers since 2007.

Wisconsinites and others who love their credit unions are uploading “selfies” at to share their stories and put a real face on what 100 million looks like. They can also share selfies through social media using the hashtag #100MM.

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