Credit Union Membership Continues To Grow

Credit union membership has continued to grow and 667,000 new members were added in the first quarter of 2012, which broke a new record of 92.5 million members, This membership gain  is an  increase of 62 percent or 412,193 more than fourth quarter 2011.  At this rate, the 2011 new member gain of 1.4 million will be reached by third quarter 2012. This information was released on June 1, 2012 by National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which represents the nation’s 7,019 federally-insured credit unions. Credit union member numbers are based on new members, not the number of accounts opened.

Bank Transfer Day Results

Credit unions experienced record breaking increase in membership in the fourth quarter of 2011, because the major banks announced they would charge debit card fees beginning in October 2011.  Bank of America was the initiator of the fees and other banks followed suit. There was so much backlash from politicians and consumers that Bank of America cancelled the fee and so did others.  Eventhough the fees were cancelled, consumer advocates still declared November 5, 2011 as Bank Transfer Day.  Consumers switched to credit unions more than in the past.  The banks dropped debit card fees, but found other ways to increase fees such as charging for checking accounts that were previously free; and charging to close accounts.  I am sure there will be more fees to come.

Record growth

In addition to record membership, credit unions also broke records for growth in assets and net worth.  Total assets, which include cash and deposits, reached $1 billion for the first time, which was an increase of $40 billion or 4 percent. Industry net worth, which is the credit unions’ total retained earnings, increased by 2 percent to $100 billion.

Savings increased

Credit union members are saving more in 2012 than in 2011. In first quarter 2012, member savings totaled $866 billion, which was an increase of $39 billion or 5 percent from 2011.  Compare this to an $8 billion increase in savings in fourth quarter 2011, and a $41 billion increase in all of 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, the dollar increase in savings was almost equivalent to all of 2011!

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This shows that consumers are continuing to move away from banks and switching to credit unions.  You don’t have to stay with banks that don’t care about you, and are only concerned about making money. There are other alternatives. Credit unions don’t have customers – they have members.  The members are owners of the credit union and are treated that way. Since credit unions are non-profit, the earnings are given back to members in reduced rates.