Iowa Credit Unions Help Grow Local Communities
Serving more than 1.4 million Iowans, the state’s credit union industry is committed to being a partner in economic growth. While banks have closed 120 branches in Iowa over the last decade, credit unions have opened 40 new ones. Having additional branches helps to serve rural communities and prevent financial deserts in Iowa.
The not-for-profit, cooperative business model of credit unions also benefits Iowans and the state’s small businesses. Last year, Iowans saved $168.4 million in better rates and fewer fees by choosing a credit union as their financial partner. This not only helps Iowans keep more of their hard-earned money, but also enables them to spend it elsewhere in our state’s economy.
Iowa credit unions live the “people helping people” mission through their commitment to serving underserved communities. According to recent HMDA data, Iowa banks are more than twice as likely to deny a home loan to a low or moderate-income applicant as Iowa credit unions, and more likely to deny a home loan to a minority applicant.
One example of the commitment to serve these communities is GreenState Credit Union’s recent announcement to dedicate $500 million in mortgage loans to persons of color to help close the home ownership gap.
According to a new report, Iowa credit unions contributed $1.9 billion in total economic productivity statewide last year. Authored by Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson, the report analyzed the 4,366 credit union industry employees, the $262.6 million in payroll and benefits and the $1.23 billion in total earnings last year to find the total value of the credit union industry to Iowa’s economy. These direct values, combined with Iowa credit unions’ use of local utilities, services to operate facilities, and credit union employees’ spending in local communities create a multiplier effect that supports even more jobs in Iowa.
The report found that every $1 spent by the state’s credit unions added $0.55 elsewhere in Iowa’s economy, and every job at an Iowa credit union supports an additional 1.06 jobs in the rest of the Iowa economy. Iowa credit unions’ $1.9 billion economic contribution in Iowa is comprised of $905.5 million in value added GDP, of which $475.1 million is labor income to 8,990 job holders.
“Iowa credit unions are committed to improving the financial lives of the more than 1.4 million Iowans we serve, along with growing the local communities where they live and work,” said Murray Williams, President and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL). “The cooperative credit union structure saves Iowa credit union members more than $160 million annually – helping Iowans keep more of their hard-earned money and giving them the opportunity to reinvest it elsewhere in Iowa’s economy.”
If the past two years has shown us anything, it has demonstrated the importance of community in the face of difficulty. It has underscored the significance of a not-for-profit financial institution that puts the economic health of Iowans above all else.
Vibrant communities and a strong workforce are critical for our state’s economic future. You can count on credit unions to help grow both of these.