MADISON, Wis. (11/2/15)--The Economist turned to CUNA Chief Policy Officer Bill Hampel for insight on worldwide credit union growth in an article in the publication’s Oct. 31 issue.
Hampel told the global business journal that legal changes have created more multiple bonds for credit unions, making more consumers eligible for credit union membership. As a result, credit unions, are easier than ever to join and more convenient to use, Hampel said. That coupled with better rates and member service has boosted growth, Hampel added.
The Economist article focused on the worldwide growth of credit unions. “Globally, the number of people in credit unions has doubled since 2000, from 108 million to 217 million,” The Economist article said. “Savings are up by 130% in real terms.”
Credit unions typically offer higher rates on savings than banks and lower rates on loans--another key factor in their worldwide growth, The Economist noted. American credit unions charge an average rate of 2.66% on a three-year used-car loan, compared with 5.13% for banks, according to SNL Financial, a research company. Credit unions also score high in consumer satisfaction surveys.
Credit unions also proved resilient during the last financial crisis “without the same pressure to chase short-term profit, they took fewer risks,” The Economist noted. “As the big banks were hit by failure and scandal, credit unions presented themselves as a more wholesome alternative. That boosted membership, especially among the young.”