In 2016, Louisiana credit unions drove more than $1.5 billion dollars in economic impact and delivered $125 million in direct benefits to their 1.2 million members, according to a new study released Thursday.

The Louisiana Credit Union League said the report estimated the economic contributions of credit unions in Louisiana to the state's economy using the Regional Input-Output Modeling System multipliers developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. It used credit union data for 2016 from the National Credit Union Administration and the Credit Union National Association.

The study was released by the LCUL in conjunction with International Credit Union Week.

Image courtesy of the Louisiana Credit Union League

“This report helps quantify what many already know to be true – credit unions are a significant economic driver for Louisiana and are fulfilling the role for which they were created,” the Louisiana CU League said in a statement.

In verbiage apparently designed for the mainstream press, the LCUL described credit unions as not-for-profit financial cooperatives that “pump financial benefits back to members” through offering better interest rates on loans and deposit accounts.

“Credit unions' combined ripple effect in the broader economy cannot be ignored as their not-for-profit model reinvests local dollars back into local economies,” the League said, adding the numbers in the report do not reflect the additional economic impact created by lending activities initiated by CUs, such as auto lending, mortgage lending and business lending.

“Credit unions offer a firm financial foundation for families through accessible loans. Louisiana credit union loans totaling an estimated $7.2 billion are helping strengthen individuals, families and small businesses,” the League said.

Some additional highlights of the report:

  • Members appreciate direct benefits. Credit union members received an average direct benefit of $101 per individual member, the study found. These benefits are equivalent to $192 per member household.
  • Jobs and Income. Louisiana has 3,916 credit union professionals, creating support for 8,900 family wage jobs.
  • Consumers' Financial Lifeline. Nearly 27 percent of the area's population belongs to a credit union, representing 1.2 members.

During International Credit Union Week, Louisiana CUs are celebrating by putting money back into the state’s economy by participating in “CU Lunch Local,” as credit unions from across the Pelican State are committing to dine, shop, and buy local. According to the LCUL, since 2013, Louisiana credit unions have given back more than $74,000 to local businesses during ICU week.

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