That's the estimate of their strength, according to study recently conducted by the University of Wisconsin.
The nation's 29,284 cooperatives-including 8,344 credit unions-have revenues of more than $654 billion and provide jobs for more than two million people, according to the University of Wisconsin study.
The study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and surveyed 16,151 cooperatives, found that the cooperatives generated $133 billion in income and paid more than $75 billion in wages. It was conducted by the University of Wisconsin's Center for Cooperatives and billed as the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of cooperatives.
The report found that the country's CUs have assets of more than $761 billion, employ 236,000 people and have 91.5 million members.
The financial services sector of cooperatives has about $2.8 trillion in assets, $265 billion in revenue, 376,000 jobs and $13 billion in wages.
The largest sector within financial services in terms of assets was cooperative finance, which has $1.8 trillion in assets, followed by mutual insurance, which has $842 billion in assets, followed by credit unions and the smallest sector was the farm credit system, which has assets of $186 billion. The assets of the mutual insurance sector are probably much higher as only 148 of 1,497 companies responded to the survey.
"Although cooperative businesses have been responsible for many market innovations and corrections of market imperfections, little is known about their impact as an economic sector," the report concluded