Credit union members benefit from higher levels of service and participation in the governance of their financial cooperatives. But members also benefit financially to the tune of about $7.3 billion a year–that’s $74 a year per member or $140 a year per member household, according to data from the Credit Union National Association’s economics and statistics department.
That’s the sum of the additional fees, loan interest and lower savings return that credit union members would have paid and earned had they conducted all their business with banks instead of credit unions during the twelve months ending September 2014. Those numbers break down this way:
· Lower fees = $1.4 billion
· Lower interest paid on loans = $4.7 billion
· Higher earnings on shares and deposits = $1.2 billion
While bank advocates complain that credit unions don’t pay federal income taxes, they conveniently ignore the fact that credit union members pay income taxes on the additional dividends that they earn on their higher-earning credit union savings accounts, according to CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel.
More than 100 million Americans are members of a credit union. But Hampel also points out that even those that don’t belong to a credit union benefit from the existence of credit unions. “Attractive pricing from credit unions pressures other financial institutions to provide attractive rates and services.”