Credit unions in the state of Idaho had a $638 million impact on the state’s economy in 2016, according to an economic analysis by ECONorthwest, a consulting firm that analyzes economic and consumer trends.
The report, titled “The 2017 Economic Impacts of Credit Unions in Idaho,” measured jobs, economic output and income supported by the credit unions, as well as the direct benefits delivered to the more than 917,000 Idahoans who are members of the state’s 35 credit unions.
According to the report, Idaho’s credit unions collectively returned $89.9 million in “direct member benefits,” or an average of $98 per member. Moreover, members reinvested those benefits in local communities, in turn generating $90.4 million of spending in the state.
The Northwest Credit Union Association has already released independent economic analyses of Oregon and Washington, and with Idaho’s report now complete, the total collective economic impact of Northwest credit unions’ is now recorded at $8.4 billion. The Idaho Credit Union League recently merged with NWCUA.
“Performing a high-level, independent economic analysis documents credit unions’ economic impact on communities, and the financial empowerment they provide to members,” Troy Stang, NWCUA president and CEO, said in a statement. “This new, leading-edge study will help elected officials and other community groups understand that Idaho credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative structure inherently holds them accountable to members. This data makes it clear that consumers must always have access to the cooperative financial services model.”
In addition, the report uncovered that Idaho credit unions provide 2,520 “family-wage” jobs for Idahoans, who earned a total of $147 million in compensation.
“Every credit union job supports 1.2 others in the economy, meaning the state’s credit unions supported 5,440 jobs overall,” said Michael Wilkerson, Ph.D., senior economist for ECONorthwest.
About 55 percent of Idaho’s population are credit union members, noted NWCUA, and credit unions are financial services partners to consumers in 34 of Idaho’s 44 counties, including many rural communities, where 153,000 people are members.
National Credit Union Administration data from 2016 showed Idahoans holding more than 548,000 loans from credit unions totaling about $7.3 billion.
“Credit union loans represent a significant investment in working-class Idahoans,” added Stang. “Those loans help to put members’ families in their dream homes, help them buy the cars that get them to work and help them to start small businesses.”