Credit unions provide a stabilizing force in pockets of the economy that are still struggling.
Credit unions have a reputation for countercyclical performance, but their unique positioning is critical for sectors that haven't yet joined the recovery (like consumers affected by the housing market or high employment rates). When bank stocks get beaten and credit tightens, cooperatives have a role to play in working against market forces to help those who need it most. And credit unions can continue to push still-struggling local markets into a jump-start.
As an industry, we can either roll over and say, “We’re in for a double-dip,” or we can fight back and remind Americans how we can help them. Here are a few ways credit unions have taken up the mantle of the underdog and are doing battle against lingering economic burdens.
- On jobs: Friday’s jobs report put a damper on the markets. You can bet board rooms on Wall Street are looking for new ways to increase revenue, most likely at the expense of their customers. Credit unions, on the other hand, are doing something about job creation. We’ve covered how credit unions are helping put America back to work, whether its by hosting local job fairs, refinancing debt at lower rates, or granting credit to first time homebuyers.
- On housing: With housing prices skating along the market bottom, now may seem like a bad time to buy a home. Think again, according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s a common consumer misconception that needs to be communicated to those sitting on the sidelines of homeownership. Credit unions across the country are partnering with local realtors to help educate consumers and get more people into homes.
- On autos: May auto sales took a beating, but some auto experts think the trends might be anomalous. Japanese automakers pulled back on pricing incentives due to low inventory and domestic manufactures followed suit to preserve profitability. This presents an opportunity for credit unions to better compete with the captive financiers. Whether you target Gen Y, offer programs to help those with battered credit, or serve the entire community, credit unions are finding ways to develop niche markets and expand their auto lending portfolios.
What’s your credit union doing to help the local community? Let us know.