With the U.S. economy humming steadily along, credit unions have reported impressive membership growth so far in 2016, according CUNA’s Economics and Statistics Department.
Through April, credit unions have added 1.78 million members in 2016, an average of 444,750 per month, with a high of 612,000 in March.
For reference, the 1.78 million membership increase is more than the combined populations of Vermont and Rhode Island, and more than the population of Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth-largest city.
“Strong membership numbers in 2016 are due to more indirect auto lending and spreading the word of the positive credit union value proposition,” said CUNA Senior Economist Perc Pineda. “Competitively priced financial services are vital for working-class Americans, particularly in periods of modest economic growth. More and more Americans are choosing credit unions as their best financial partner.”
Growing memberships sustain credit unions’ long-term growth, Pineda said. “Consumer expenditures vary by age. So, new members are important for credit union growth,” he said. “As member demographics change, credit unions should be able to meet the changing financial needs of its members.”
For example, transportation spending peaks in the age groups 35-44 and 44-55 and declines thereafter, he noted. “Thus, auto loans will be one of the most sought-after financial service these age groups would need, “ Pineda said.