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Consumer Blog

The Economic Benefit that Montana Credit Unions Bring to our State

January 9, 2018 3:50 pm

By Tracie Kenyon

If you belong to a credit union, you are probably aware of the benefit that your not-for-profit cooperative provides to members…but did you know that having credit unions in the marketplace also benefits non-members?

Silvia Davis, the manager at St. Pat’s Employees FCU, serves one of her credit union members.

Credit unions offer direct and indirect benefits

CUNA Economics and Statistics estimated that, for the year ending June 2017, the direct financial benefit to Montana credit unions members was $21.7 million – much of that is in the savings provided due to favorable rates on loans and services, while some of it is in higher dividends paid on savings.

Here’s something that I find truly compelling: the same research indicates that the indirect financial benefits that non-members receive are $8.4 million! To use a phrase from a 1980s TV show: that’s incredible!

Credit unions, by their very presence, create value for all Montanans by keeping prices and services competitive. Here’s one small example from my past: many years ago, when I still lived in Utah, a credit union opened a branch in a small community that only had banking services. The credit union’s hours were 9-5; the bank had always closed at 3. Guess what happened? You got it, the bank expanded their hours. A direct benefit to the residents of that community.

I have lots of arguments about our structure and governance that explain the credit union tax status. However, here’s a really convincing statistic: if Montana’s credit unions all paid income taxes based on current income, it would amount to $7.9 million. Notice anything about that number? It’s smaller than the indirect financial benefit credit unions provide to non-members!

In other words, Montana’s credit unions give back to non-members $500,000 MORE than would be generated in taxes.

Montana’s economy is $30.1 million richer due to credit unions … these are real dollars spent in your local economies … just another reason to be proud of (and join) your local credit union.

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