ASHEVILLE, N.C. (6/17/15)--A recent article by the personal finance website The Cheat Sheet breaks down why the credit union movement has increased its popularity of late.
First and foremost, it appears consumers are drawn to the idea that credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial institutions, which can offer lower and fewer fees and higher interest rates on savings because they aren’t beholden to investors.
This, in turn, may be driving growth in a number of areas.
The article noted that savings at credit unions nationwide topped $1 trillion earlier this month, reported both by CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group recently.
Further, credit union memberships rose at a record pace in the first quarter, climbing by nearly 500,000 to 102.8 million nationwide, putting the annualized growth at 4%.
Loans, meanwhile, also continue to strengthen, with loan portfolios jumping 10.6% annually in March, the article said.
“Credit union members are an extremely close proxy for the American middle-market consumer, and this report goes beyond sentiment data to demonstrate that these consumers are feeling better than they have in quite some time,” Steve Rick, CUNA Mutual Group chief economist, told The Cheat Sheet.
The article also cited Nielsen Scarborough data that revealed which metro areas have experienced the highest rates of membership growth between 2008 and 2014.
Seattle/Tacoma saw memberships rise 8.3%, followed by Oklahoma City (7.7%), Portland, Ore. (6.7%), Austin, Texas (6.5%), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6.1%).
As of 2014, a record 31.5% of people in the Seattle/Tacoma area used a credit union as their primary financial institution.