Oregon's Credit Unions
Information about the growth, consolidation, and business practices of Oregon's credit union industry
Oregon’s credit union industry, once exemplified by the “little guy with the umbrella” image, is now dominated by a handful of large financial institutions. 40 years ago 265 credit unions in Oregon held $192 million in combined assets. At the end of 2014 there were 66 credit unions with their headquarters based in Oregon holding combined assets of $17 billion and reporting over 1.5 million members (customers) and 293 branches.
Oregon credit unions don’t pay income taxes, but the largest ones are extremely profitable. In 2014, the top 10 Oregon credit unions accounted for 72 percent of the overall industry revenue and had 68% of all customers. This has impacted what institutions are enjoying the benefit of the tax subsidy. In 2000, the top four Oregon credit unions enjoyed 41 percent of the overall tax subsidy. By 2012, that figure was 81 percent. So, the tax subsidy is almost completely taken by the most profitable Oregon credit unions. The largest Oregon credit union paid its CEO $2 million in 2012. These are not the small, mom-and-pop, not-for-profit institutions that the industry likes to portray.
Despite their not-for-profit status, credit unions are not required to provide a public benefit in exchange for their subsidy. In fact, an examination of Oregon credit unions’ 2013 home mortgage lending shows that they provided less than 1 percent of their loans to low-income borrowers while 32 percent were made to upper-income borrowers. This portfolio includes 18 mortgages that went to properties of over $1 million.
Searching for the Public Benefit in Oregon’s Largest Credit Unions
What actions support nonprofit status?
Revenue Potential from Taxation of Credit Unions
CREDIT UNIONS: Growing, Consolidating, and Often Indistinguishable from Commercial Banks
Willamette Week Calls Into Question Credit Union Tax Subsidy
Report Reveals Oregon Credit Unions’ Poor Record of Mortgages to Low-Income Borrowers
Center for Public Integrity Exposes CU Industry and its Regulators