MADISON, Wis. (8/7/14)--The Credit Union National Association's announcement that America's credit union membership has topped 100 million was cause for celebration, and one that was noticed by media outlets across the nation.
Within hours of Tuesday's announcement of the milestone, The Washington Post's WonkBlog column cited CUNA interim President/CEO Bill Hampel, who shared the numerous benefits of credit union membership such as lower fees, higher savings rates and lower loan rates as well as increased awareness and broader membership eligibility.
"In the old days, people would have thought 'those credit unions sound like a good deal, but I don't think I can get into one,'" Hampel told The Washington Post. Now, the article noted, there is both greater eligibility and broader awareness.
News that roughly a third of Americans use credit unions quickly spread to other media outlets such as The Fiscal Times, which featured CUNA interim Chief Economist Mike Schenk, and Daily Finance. A recurring theme is the unique structure--not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative--of credit unions that gives them the ability to offer better rates and member-focused service.
"The long list of benefits to credit union membership is no longer one of the country's best-kept secrets," said Pat Keefe, CUNA senior vice president/chief communications officer. "Credit union products and services saved consumers $8.5 billion in 2013. That benefit goes both directly to credit union members, because members--not stockholders--are owners, and to the American consumer overall because credit unions' better pricing puts competitive heat on banks."
Hampel also made the airwaves with interviews on American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report and Bloomberg Radio's Taking Stock. Use the links to listen to the segments.
"It took us a very long time to get here, but in the last four or five years, the growth rate of credit unions has really picked up," Hampel told Taking Stock host Pimm Fox during a 10-minute interview. "We pretty quickly went from 90 million up to 100 million."
Regional newspapers also tapped into state credit union leagues for reaction. Credit Union Association of New Mexico President/CEO Paul Stull told Albuquerque Business First that the state added 25,000 members in the past year (Aug. 5). With a total of 735,000 members, that means nearly two-thirds of the state's residents are members, he added.
Nebraska Credit Union League President/CEO Scott Sullivan cited the 2.9% jump in annual membership growth of his state in a Wednesday story in the Omaha World-Herald.
Credit unions, state leagues and members celebrated with posts on social media. Hundreds of credit union members have shared their credit union stories with their photo on americascreditunions.org and on social media to show they are part of an organization that focuses on their best financial interests. Check out a little of the social media conversation below.
And Learn more about the 100 million credit union membership milestone by visiting www.americascreditunions.org.