An investigative story in today’s issue of Willamette Week, a newspaper in Portland, Oregon, critically examined whether Oregon’s credit unions are serving individuals of modest means. The story cited a report from the Oregon Bankers Association showing that only 1 percent of Oregon credit unions’ mortgage loans went to low-income borrowers in 2013.
“Credit unions are no longer spartan storefronts serving low-income workers and middle-class families,” the story said. “In fact, they look a lot like banks. But they don’t pay income taxes.”
The story also challenged a push in the Oregon legislature to allow state-chartered CUs to pay their directors, a policy that would further erode differences between banks and credit unions. Credit unions account for seven of the 10 largest Oregon-chartered financial institutions.