NEW YORK (8/27/14)--A Bankrate.com article published online Monday cited credit unions' 100 million membership milestone and highlighted the growth of cooperative financial institutions since the financial crisis. Credit Union National Association interim Chief Economist Mike Schenk was interviewed for the article.
"Credit unions are today in a better place than they were four to six years ago," Schenk noted. "Credit unions have come through in better shape, relatively speaking, than the banking industry (after the economic downturn)."
Much of that momentum was gained in 2011 through the Bank Transfer Day campaign, which urged consumers to ditch their banks in light of moves by some institutions to add new bank fees.
"Since that time, it has not only maintained itself but accelerated," Schenk told Bankrate.com of recent credit union growth. "In the wake of the downturn, as banks were hunkering down and licking their wounds and turning people away, credit unions were actually refinancing some of those unfriendly loans that banks made."
That relative health has enabled some credit unions to purchase struggling bank branches, the article said. The article noted six instances in which credit unions purchased banks or branch facilities in the past several years.
Former customers of those banks may welcome the chance to become credit union members. The article also referenced a February Consumer Banking Insights Study that found lingering resentment among consumers toward big banks over their role in the financial crisis. Two-thirds of Americans say they're still angry at big banks.