The Wisconsin Credit Union League, the league where REAL Solutions originally started, sent out a press release this week with some amazing statistics on the impact that REAL Solutions has made to consumers in Wisconsin:
Credit unions, which are member-owned financial institutions that do not have stockholders, saved 2.2 million Wisconsin consumers $203 million via competitive rates on savings and loans and lower and fewer fees for financial services, according to the REAL Solutions 2010 Scorecard for Wisconsin Credit Unions, a report by the Wisconsin Credit Union League. Members of credit unions, the report says, saved more than $112 million on loans, more than $56 million on savings products and paid $33 million less in fees for financial services.Click Here for the Full Release & 2010 Scorecard
The report also cited millions of dollars of additional value from credit unions via “intangible” services like free financial counseling that has prevented home foreclosures and improved borrowers’ creditworthiness, free tax preparation for low-income filers, outreach to new Americans, financial education within schools and more. Those services are part of a voluntary – not mandated – effort by credit unions called REAL Solutions to help families and small businesses in ways that for-profit financial institutions typically won’t extend themselves.
During 2010, the report says, credit unions increased their lending to small businesses 8.3% to compensate for an almost equal decrease in available business credit from banks. A whopping $44 million of the savings on financial product usage accrued to lower-income consumers; credit unions, in fact, operated 40% of all the financial institution branches in low-income areas. Nearly all credit unions offered loans of $500 or less at modest interest rates – an alternative to costly payday loans. And credit unions also outperformed non-credit union lenders by approving 71.3% of home loans for low-income borrowers and 77% of home loans for minority borrowers, compared to a 66.2% and 56.7% approval rate by others, respectively.