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Report: WA Credit Unions Economic Driver in 2020

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A new report says Washington credit unions waived $6.7 million in fees for their customers during the pandemic. (Andrey Popov/Adobe Stock)
A new report says Washington credit unions waived $6.7 million in fees for their customers during the pandemic. (Andrey Popov/Adobe Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA - Producer, Contact
March 24, 2021

SEATTLE -- Washington credit unions have a big economic impact on the state, according to a new study.

ECONorthwest finds the institutions contributed nearly $7 billion to the state's economy in 2020.

Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, 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," Stang explained. "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 4.7 million, or 62%, of Washingtonians are members of a credit union. According to ECONorthwest, that number is a 7.7% increase over its last analysis in 2018.

Credit unions have played a pivotal role during the pandemic, especially distributing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses.

Stang noted 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," Stang remarked. "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."

Washington credit unions made $491 million worth of PPP loans. The report showed they also waived $6.7 million in fees during the pandemic.

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