PORTLAND, Maine (3/29/13)--The inclination of more Maine consumers to establish and strengthen a relationship with a credit union continues to push Maine's credit unions to new growth levels, according to year-end statistics for 2012.
"These figures reflect the significant changes in consumer attitudes and preferences over the past few years, with consumers turning to Maine's credit unions in growing numbers," said John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League. "Consumers with existing credit union relationships are utilizing additional products and services, as well, which is solidifying the increasing number of consumers that use their credit union as their primary financial institution."
For the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, Maine's 61 credit unions experienced solid growth in all categories including members, assets, savings and loans, the league said.
As of Dec. 31, combined assets at Maine's credit unions increased nearly $275 million to $5.88 billion, an increase of 4.9%. Loan growth represents a key economic indicator, not only for Maine credit unions, but for the overall economy, the league said. For 2012, loans outstanding to members increased by $227 million, reflecting a 6.2% increase, over year-end 2011 figures.
Last year, savings at Maine's credit unions grew 5.4%, to $5.04 billion. Also, membership reflected a net gain of nearly 8,500 new members, a 1.4% rise. Total membership at Maine's credit unions is at 625,500 members--the highest year-end total ever.
Murphy noted that strong loan growth and membership growth "reinforces the many positives that credit unions are providing to members including value, trust and safety. As financial cooperatives, credit unions are focused on helping and serving their members and, clearly, Maine consumers appreciate the benefits and advantages that using a credit union offers."
Convenience and access is playing a key role in the growth of credit unions, said the league.