Winning At Home

Credit unions are generating solutions that boost local economies.


Year-over-year loan originations jumped 12.7% as of 1Q11. More than $1 billion in student loans. Mortgage modifications totaling $8 billion. These are the numbers for the cooperative movement as of 1Q11.

But numbers like those are the culmination of many small programs that save members money or improve their lives in some way. A few stand out.

  • In Oregon, Unitus Community Credit Union ($840M, Portland, OR) partners with Choose Local, an organization aimed at promoting local businesses by offering discounts to cardholders. The credit union offers members an affinity card branded with the Choose Local name. The card encourages members to funnel money back into the local economy by shopping at area businesses. Plus, Unitus donates a percentage of the interchange toward a local cause. Click on the image below to get all of the details on the Choose Local card at Unitus.


  • Charter Oak Federal Credit Union ($674.9M, Groton, CT) decided to reinvigorate the local mortgage market in Connecticut. The credit union rolled out an accelerated mortgage ( 8- or 12-year fully amortizing) with low fees ($350 to apply) and a $250,000 limit. Charter Oak saw growth mostly in the form of refinancing, but the program propelled the cooperative to the top of the mortgage heap in its local market. Click the image below to read the full story from Charter Oak's local paper..



  • Educators Credit Union ($1.35B, Racine, WI) has been saving members money for some time now. With its Fast Lane Financing Program, the credit union strives to save members money on refinancing. In fact, it’s so important to the staff that they keep track of it. In 2009, it beat its $5 million goal; in 2010, it beats its $10 million goal. Now, the credit union is going for $15 million in savings during 2011. Just think: If they succeed (and the past indicates chances are very good), Educators will have saved members more than $30 million. Click on the image below to visit Educators' site and see the savings track on the right side.



As the quarters pass and the numbers change, it’s important to remember that the numbers represent something. They stand for tons of tiny victories in the communities in which credit unions operate.