Credit Unions Honored for Community Involvement as the World, Wisconsin Celebrate Cooperatives
Christine Henzig, CUDE
Director of Communications
The Wisconsin Credit Union League
N25W23131 Paul Road, Suite 500, Pewaukee, WI 53072-5779
(262) 408-6019 direct (262) 549-0200 main (800) 242-0833 toll free
(262) 549-7722 fax
Pewaukee, Wis. – Wisconsin’s 194 member-owned credit unions are being honored with a Corporate Citizenship Award—recognizing community involvement—from Corporate Report Wisconsin magazine. The accolade comes amid celebration of the International Year of Cooperatives, Co-op Month and the approach of International Credit Union Day, October 18.
“Because credit unions have no stockholders – just members who use their locally-owned financial co-op to borrow and save at better rates – they are beholden only to their members and communities,” said Wisconsin Credit Union League President & CEO Brett Thompson. “While consumers’ trust in the overall financial industry has plummeted, credit unions have increasingly won consumer trust for the value they offer every day,” he added.
“By owning their financial institution, 2.3 million Wisconsin citizens not only reduce their debt, build their creditworthiness and grow their wealth, but fortify their communities through financial education, support of local organizations, and countless volunteer efforts,” Thompson said.
Credit unions were honored, in part, for becoming a “driving force” in the Stock the Shelves food drive, which supports 108 food pantries across the state, and seeking a change in state law that doubles their own ability to provide financial support to thousands of community organizations and programs.
“In my first term, my experience has consistently involved industry representatives lobbying on behalf of changes that increase their bottom line,” said Rep. Dale Kooyenga, lead author of the legislation that increased credit unions’ financial giving capacity. “It was refreshing to have the industry representatives from Wisconsin’s credit unions spending their time on changes to statutes that increase their ability to serve their community.”
Credit unions were also honored for statewide financial literacy efforts that include student-run branches that helped students amass $3 million, aid to improve teachers’ personal finance lessons, 30,000 hours of free financial counseling, the online game MoneyMission®, which is helping students in 48 states learn responsible money management, and an investment education program – being replicated in 10 states – that delivered 60,000 hours of online training to 4,476 employees from credit unions and Wisconsin firms.
The League’s REAL Solutions Scorecard explains Wisconsin credit unions’ economic impact as well as how credit unions returned more than $201 million to their members and served their communities in 2011.
Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions that are owned by their members and do not have stockholders. Because they are not-for-profit, they return earnings to members via more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.3 million Wisconsin residents belong to credit unions, of which nearly half are open to the local community. Find a credit union to join by visiting www.asmarterchoice.org. The League’s REAL Solutions Scorecard explains how credit unions returned more than $201 million to their members in 2011 and served their communities regardless of profit. It is available at www.theleague.coop/scorecard.