Third quarter 2012 data reported to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) shows that credit union membership continues to grow.
“Third-quarter statistics show the credit union industry continues to recover from the economic downturn,” NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said. “Consumers increasingly chose credit unions as their financial services providers. Membership grew by almost 743,000 during the quarter, up nearly 2.1 million for the year. Ongoing growth in lending, continued declines in delinquencies and charge-offs, and strong net income year-to-date all demonstrate a strengthening economy. Moreover, the industry’s net worth ratio again jumped to end the quarter at 10.31 percent.”
In July, August and September, ongoing gains in membership growth at credit unions accelerated. During the quarter, membership increased by 742,847 to 93.9 million, a quarterly growth rate of 0.8 percent. While membership rose, the overall number of federally insured credit unions declined from 6,961 to 6,888 as industry merger trends continued.
Total savings at credit unions rose modestly in the third quarter, growing by $928.9 million to $869.7 billion. Money market shares grew by 0.9 percent, non-member deposits increased by 0.7 percent, and IRA/Keogh accounts rose by 0.6 percent. Total loans by credit unions have now risen for six consecutive quarters, reflecting an improving economy and increased consumer demand. BestCashCow data shows that on average credit unions offer deposit rates that are between .10 percentage points and .25 percentange points better than banks. In some categories such as auto loans, credit unions offer some of the lowest rates in the country.
Still, as Mike Schenk from the Credit Union National Association points out in the powerpoint Commercial Banks and Credit Unions:
“As of third quarter 2011 banking institutions held over fourteen times more assets than credit unions ($13.8 trillion vs. $963 billion). Each of the nation’s four largest banking entities are larger than the entire credit union movement.”
Still, as many customers are finding, it's worth it to consider a credit union when looking for a place to deposit money or when looking to make a loan.