Study: Credit Unions Add $4.5B To New York State

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A new study has found New York's credit unions directly and indirectly support 30,000 jobs in the Empire State, helping to generate more than $610 million in taxable wages and an estimated $4.5 billion to the gross state product.

The study was underwritten by the New York State Credit Union League and conducted by Brian P. O'Connor of New Jersey-based Ridgewood Economic Associates.

Based on federal and state labor statistics, the study said New York's credit union's directly account for 9,000 jobs; $305 million in taxable wages; $13.5 million in personal income tax payments to the state; $292.5 million in disposable wages (wages minus taxes) and $2.5 billion in Gross State Product. Indirectly, the study found credit unions generate another 21,000 industry jobs, $305 million in taxable wages, $13.4 million in personal income tax payments, $292.5 million in disposable income and $2 billion in Gross State Product

"Credit unions have never been more important to New York State than they are today," said William J. Mellin, NYSCUL's president and CEO. "In communities all across New York, credit unions are making a big difference in the lives of ordinary people-whether it's helping people buy their first home, create a savings nest egg or improve their financial standing. This study-for the first time-quantifies those benefits to the state."

Credit unions also provide the added feature of market accessibility for certain segments of the population, the study found. For example, in the Capital District region, the SEFCU (State Employees Federal Credit Union) has opened branches in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood in Schenectady and in Albany's Arbor Hill-both economically depressed and underserved areas virtually abandoned by other financial institutions, the New York league noted.

"The ripple effect is significant," said O'Connor. "For every direct effect credit unions have- whether in spurring economic activity through lower loan rates or creating jobs-there's also an indirect effect that magnifies the benefit."

"And even though credit unions' market share in New York is less than two percent, this study shows that our positive impact on the economy is clearly much more significant," said Mellin.

Within New York, the contrast between credit unions and banks in terms of employment is "stark," the league said. It noted that while total jobs in New York State decreased 1.8% in 2002, credit union employment in New York State rose 2.9% (the last year for which complete data are available). When all data are in, last year's rise is expected to top 4%, the league reported.

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