100 million memberships reached at credit unions nationwide
2.85 million joined this summer; fastest growth since 2000
EDWARDSVILLE, IL (October 2, 2014) — Credit unions have reached and surpassed 100 million members nationwide – equating to one in every three Americans, according to Adam Koishor, Chief Marketing Officer at Scott Credit Union.
The 100 million memberships count is based on data collected from credit unions and compiled by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in its “Monthly Credit Union Estimates.” CUNA estimates that credit union memberships expanded by 2.9% in the past 12 months, and the 100 million mark was eclipsed this summer. This represents a continuation (and acceleration) of trends previously reported: In 2013, memberships expanded by 2.5% and in 2012 memberships grew 2.1%. Membership growth is expected to continue in the second half of 2014 and exceed the full-year growth of the previous year.
Credit unions added a total of 2.85 million additional memberships over the past year – the largest reported increase in more than a quarter century. And, in percentage terms, the 2.5% increase was the fastest since 2000, according to the CUNA analysis.
Scott Credit Union’s membership has grown to nearly 124,000 members strong.
“Clearly, there is growing recognition for credit unions among consumers,” Koishor said. “They increasingly understand that a credit union places their interests above all else, particularly in returning financial benefits to consumer members in the forms of lower rates on loans, higher returns on savings, and lower and fewer fees.”
Sean Hession, CEO of the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL), added that, in 2013, those financial benefits totaled $190 for families in Illinois ($126 per member household) and more than $6 billion for credit union members across the nation. Hession pointed out that, as cooperatives, credit unions are owned by their members and exist to provide financial services to those members. Banks, he noted, which are owned by shareholders, exist to return profits to those shareholders.
“It’s the structure of credit unions – as not-for-profit, democratically led and cooperatively owned financial institutions– that allows credit unions to maintain this focus on returning financial benefits to members,” ICUL leader Hession said. “In fact, by doing so, credit unions have earned the satisfaction and trust of their existing members – and are attracting even more.”
At least two key measurements of consumer attitudes have recently underscored the reputation that credit unions have built among their members. At year-end 2013, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found, for the fifth straight year (which is every year that credit unions have appeared on the index), that credit unions lead banks in customer satisfaction (scoring 85 out of 100, compared to 78 for all banks).
In 2013, the Chicago Booth Kellogg School Financial Trust Index showed that consumers trust credit unions more than banks. The index (which is sponsored jointly by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University ofChicago Booth School of Business) showed trust in credit unions is 62% while trust in big banks is 28%.
Mike Schenk, CUNA Chief Economist, said other factors within the financial services marketplace have played key roles in the credit union growth. He noted that a growing number of consumers continue to express dissatisfaction with big Wall Street banks due to economic downturn and consumer movements such as Bank Transfer Day in 2011, when consumers were urged through a grassroots movement (primarily on social media) to leave big banks and move their money to a credit union or small bank because the organizations tend to offer better rates and incur fewer fees.
“In 2010, credit union membership barely grew, expanding by just about 0.65%, or about 600,000 memberships,” Schenk said. “But, with the spotlight turned in 2011 to the increasing fees banks were charging – particularly for debit cards and other products – and the additional publicity for the lower and fewer fees at credit unions by contrast, membership growth that year more than doubled over the previous year, by 1.4 million – and the rate of growth has increased in each subsequent year.”
Schenk noted that not everyone can join the same credit union, but there is a credit union for everyone. Consumers wishing to find a credit union they are eligible to join should visit aSmarterChoice.org, a website that includes a comprehensive credit union finder (including every credit union in the country), and helps consumers learn more about credit unions.
Additionally, hundreds of credit union members have shared their credit union story with their photo on americascreditunions.org and social media to show they are part of an organization that focuses on their best financial interests. Learn more about the 100 million credit union memberships nationwide milestone by visiting www.americascreditunions.org.
Scott Credit Union is open to anyone who lives or works in a 17 county area, including Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Perry, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Clinton, Marion, Bond, Macoupin, Montgomery, Fayette, Effingham, Williamson, and Jackson counties. Anyone who lives or works in St. Louis County, Missouri also can open accounts at SCU. Additionally, anyone active or retired military also can have accounts with Scott Credit Union.
Scott Credit Union currently has 15 area locations: Scott Air Force Base, East Belleville, Fairview Heights, Collinsville, O’Fallon, Edwardsville, Waterloo, Highland, Caseyville, West Belleville, Millstadt, Mascoutah, Troy, Wood River and its Home Office in Edwardsville.
For details on opening accounts at Scott Credit Union, visit www.scu.org, call 1-800-888-4728, or stop by any of the credit union’s branches.
About Illinois Credit Union League
The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) is the primary trade association for credit unions in Illinois and provides its members with compliance and other pertinent operating information, legislative advocacy and educational development opportunities. Membership is open to any credit union operating in accordance with the Illinois Credit Union Act or the Federal Credit Union Act. There are 321 credit unions in Illinois serving almost 3 million members.
With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves America’s credit unions, which are owned by more than 100 million consumer members. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing affordable financial services to people from all walks of life. For more information about CUNA, visit www.cuna.org, or follow @CUNA on Twitter. For more information about credit unions, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org and follow @asmarterchoice on Twitter.