While spending the week in Washington, D.C., GoWest Credit Union Association member credit unions were armed with rich data documenting how they are serving 16.5 million of those elected officials’ constituents across their six-state region.
In a first-of-its-kind effort in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, a two-fold impact collection project began last summer. The result of the process was two reports per state proving credit unions’ economic footprint and community services, driven by their not-for-profit, cooperative structure.
Credit unions are known for their leadership as they partner with public and private stakeholders to help solve critical issues in their communities. It’s one thing to say it, but it’s a much stronger argument when there is tangible data to back up our message. When meeting with elected officials, and in conversations across our communities, this data clearly demonstrates the value that credit unions deliver time and time again.
Collectively, the impact of credit unions in the GoWest region is impressive. The data shows:
- $21 billion economic boost to states’ economies,
- 35,450 family wage jobs in not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions which supported a total of more than 100,000 jobs in the six-state region;
- $1.1 billion in direct benefits returned to members, resulting in a ripple effect benefit of $2.7 billion when those benefits were spent in Main Street economies;
- 6,374 local non-profits supported;
- 135,000 hours contributed by credit union employees to community service; and
- 54,000 hours of free financial education provided across GoWest states.*
*2021 data; analysis by ECONorthwest and GoWest Community Impact Survey
But more importantly, the process captured impact per state, county, and congressional district to offer critical, useful information that can help support or defend against legislation, create community partnerships, position credit unions favorably, and more. The data showed credit unions drove billions of dollars in impact to our state economies:
- $3.7 Billion in economic impact in Arizona
- $4.1 Billion in economic impact in Colorado
- $1.7 Billion in economic impact in Idaho
- $3.8 Billion in economic impact in Oregon
- $7.5 Billion in economic impact in Washington
- $375 Million in economic impact in Wyoming
Background on the Data Collection
The well-respected economic firm ECONorthwest conducted an independent study and analysis across each GoWest state. They used a combination of member surveys, call report data from National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), data from Project Zip Code (Credit Union National Association, CUNA), the IMPLAN input-output model, and other analyses to formulate a robust economic impact report. These reports were distilled at the state, county, and congressional district levels to showcase credit unions’ unique economic impact.
In addition to the work done by ECONorthwest, GoWest surveyed members to capture data not covered in the economic analysis. The intent was to measure those differentiating contributions that make credit unions the member-focused, community-first organizations they are. The community impact data helps present a more holistic picture of the true contributions of credit unions in their communities.
More About Community Impact
While the ECONorthwest report delivers the big picture of credit unions’ overall economic impact, the other half of the story is told by the results of the extensive member community impact survey.
This data paints the picture of credit unions’ services that are helping real people in their communities. This data shows the collective impact of things such as:
- Free financial education for children and adults
- Offering high yield accounts to accelerate member savings and helping school-age children learn the value of savings and preparation for college
- Providing tens of thousands of hours to community service
- Supporting countless non-profit and charitable organizations and stepping up when disasters strike their communities
- Auto loans, first-time homebuyer programs, and small business lending
Through outreach and participation at all levels—individual, community, and state—credit unions continue to perpetuate the “People Helping People” philosophy that is central to the mission of improving the lives of members and the communities where they live. Sharing the message of the incredible impact of credit unions in our communities is critical to our ability to grow and serve.
About GoWest Credit Union Association
GoWest Credit Union Association is the trade association representing credit unions in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. GoWest advocates on behalf of more than 300 member credit unions, and their 16.5 million consumer members. The region’s not-for-profit cooperative credit unions take a bold, innovative, and forward-thinking approach to improving the lives of their members and enriching their communities. More information about joining a credit union can be found at: yourmoneyfurther.com Follow GoWest Credit Union Association on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/GoWestCreditUnionAssociation, Facebook at Facebook.com/GoWestCUA, and Twitter at Twitter.com/GoWestCUA for the latest updates on the regional Movement at GoWest.org