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OR Credit Unions Boost Economy, Assist with Pandemic Aid

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021   

PORTLAND, Ore. - Credit unions in Oregon have a big economic impact on the state, according to a new study.

ECONorthwest found that the institutions contributed nearly $2.8 billion to the state's economy in 2020.

Troy Stang, president and chief executive of the Northwest Credit Union Association, said he believes the not-for-profit structure of the financial institutions is the driving force behind benefits for members.

"The economic report measures that ripple effect," he said. "If every consumer has hundreds of dollars more in their back pocket, they are more financially stable and are able to invest and spend that money locally."

More than 2.2 million, or 53%, of Oregonians are members of a credit union. According to ECONorthwest, that number is an 8.5% increase over its last analysis in 2018.

Credit unions have played a pivotal role during the pandemic, especially distributing Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses. Stang said the average loan amount in the Northwest to credit-union members was $44,000.

"That keeps that business able to keep their employees employed through the pandemic," he said, "and we believe firmly that that in itself will be a huge component as our economy snaps back to what our new normal is, post-pandemic."

Oregon credit unions made $237 million worth of PPP loans. The report said they've also waived $4.4 million in fees during the pandemic.

Disclosure: Northwest Credit Union Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Consumer Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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