Good news travels fast.
This summer the credit union movement reached—and then quickly surpassed—100 million memberships.
The fact that memberships are increasing should come as no surprise. It’s been a trend since the dark days of the Great Recession, when many banks left consumers fed up and angry with high fees and poor service.
CUNA estimates credit union memberships expanded by 2.9% in the past 12 months. In 2013, memberships expanded by 2.5%, and in 2012, by 2.1%.
To compare, the U.S. population has been growing at a rate of less than 1%.
The 2.9% growth reported this summer was the fastest since 2000, CUNA says, and it translates into 2.85 million additional memberships.
It’s not difficult to understand some reasons for this growth. Our October issue focuses on a few:
• The cooperative model. Credit unions’ structure means they exist to provide financial services to their members. And when financial cooperatives pair up with other cooperatives, members take notice and communities benefit.
• Lower fees. Credit unions are seeing healthy growth in an otherwise competitive first mortgage market, in part due to mortgage origination fees about $200 lower than banks’, on average. First mortgages now account for 42% of credit union loans and 25% of total assets, up from 25% and 18%, respectively, in 2000.
• Trust. The Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index shows consumers trust credit unions more than banks: 60% compared with 30%.
But members also have their own reasons for loving their credit unions. Visit americascreditunions.org—the website created for members to share their stories and to show they’re part of an organization that focuses on their best financial interests.
Click on any photo and read what these members have to say. Some examples:
• “Our credit union teaches us how to save money.”
• “I love how you make us feel like we matter.”
• “I am a credit union member because I support local businesses.”
• “I feel financially safe with my credit union.”
Members have spoken. Take time to celebrate with them.
Speaking of celebrating, we’re putting the finishing touches on our second annual Credit Union Rock Stars issue. Sponsored by Fiserv, this issue celebrates dedicated credit union people, nominated for their inspirational work and creativity.
Look for it in the mail, online, and through social media channels during International Credit Union Week.