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Idaho Credit Unions Big Economic Driver in 2018

More than 990,000 Idahoans are members of a credit union. (Credit Union Homepage/Flickr)
More than 990,000 Idahoans are members of a credit union. (Credit Union Homepage/Flickr)
January 24, 2019

BOISE, Idaho – Credit unions make a deep imprint on the Northwest's economy, according to new research.

A study by the economic consulting firm ECONorthwest finds these institutions had a $7.8 billion impact and reached 7.3 million people in the region in 2018.

Troy Stang, president and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, says credit unions have become a deeper part of this region's fabric than in other parts of the country.

"Being able to use a not-for-profit cooperative to do their daily business, I think, has become more of a household exercise, if you will, in the Northwest, and that certainly shows in the output of the economic reports," he states.

Credit unions had a nearly $780 million impact on Idaho's economy last year, and more than 990,000 Idahoans, or 57 percent of the state's population, are members. Credit unions also supported 2,500 jobs across the state.

Stang says last year, the country observed the grim, 10-year anniversary of the financial meltdown of 2008.

He maintains that crisis made a lot of people rethink their relationship with financial institutions.

"I think it was 10 years ago, at the onset of the recession, that people started asking themselves who are they doing business with and how much control do they have over that entity,” he states. “And knowing that credit unions are member-owned, driven by the interest of the membership, I think that holds true at the kitchen table across the Northwest."

The report also finds credit unions have a job multiplier effect of 2.2 in Idaho, meaning every employee at a credit union supports another 1.2 jobs in the regional economy.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID