Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

NEW ORLEANS  – According to a new economic impact study, the credit union industry in Louisiana has experienced significant growth and serves as an expanding financial sector in the state.

     “The Economic Impact of Credit Unions on the Louisiana Economy,” conducted by noted economist Dr. Loren Scott on behalf of the Louisiana Credit Union League, finds that the Louisiana credit union industry includes nearly 200 individual credit unions and more than 1.2 million members statewide. The industry has seen a 56 percent increase in membership since 1991 in the state, and Louisiana credit unions recently surpassed $10 billion in total assets for the first time ever, signifying the industry’s growth throughout the state.

     Member savings volumes have more than tripled over the last 24 years. According to the study, 87 percent of total credit union assets today are attributed to member savings, with an additional $6.3 billion attributed to Louisiana credit union loans.

     “Loan volume is [an] indicator that credit unions are a healthy, growth sector in the state. Loan volume has demonstrated a solid growth path over the past 24 years without a single year of decline. In addition to providing very helpful, competitive financial services for its members, credit unions are significant job and earnings generators in the state as well,” Scott said.

     “In many ways, credit unions are the communities they serve, and this analysis underscores the size and impact of the credit union movement on the Louisiana economy,” said Anne Cochran, president and CEO of the Louisiana Credit Union League. “Credit unions are creating stronger financial foundations for more than 1.2 million Louisianians, and Dr. Scott’s analysis proves credit unions are fulfilling the role for which they were created.”

     The credit union movement is an economic driver for the state, supporting more than 3,600 jobs statewide and generating $204.3 million in credit union worker compensation in 2014 alone.

     As the industry grows in Louisiana, so does the average annual wage for credit union professionals versus that of Louisianians in general. Credit union wages have risen steadily. While a five percent wage gap existed between credit union workers and the average worker in Louisiana 24 years ago, this gap has widened to 26.5 percent as of 2014.