LAS VEGAS – Credit unions continue to reap the benefit from public sentiment toward banks that led to Bank Transfer Day last November, according to Bill Cheney.

Cheney, president and CEO of CUNA, on Monday told a joint meeting of two CUNA Councils – CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council and CUNA Technology Council – he had been given data earlier in the day that confirmed credit unions are on the right track. In the 12 months ending June 30, credit unions added 2.1 million new members, he reported. This growth is 80% higher than the 1.2 million average in any 12-month period over the last decade, and is four times greater than the 12-month period ending June 2011.

“As we near the one-year anniversary of Bank Transfer Day, recent data is off the charts,” Cheney said. “When I heard the numbers I was ecstatic.”

Checking accounts also are a source of strength for CUs, Cheney continued, as 2.6 million new accounts were opened in the 12-month period ending June 2012. “Since 1989, when CUNA started keeping track, that is the most checking accounts that have been opened at credit unions,” he said. “The momentum is building and growth is coming to credit unions. Consumers finally woke up to the fact credit unions are a better deal, and when they are walking in the door they like the experience and are telling their friends. I am excited about that, and it is about time.”

Cheney said credit union loan balances are growing (“finally”), as is credit quality. “We expect return on assets to continue to rise, although the pace will slow down as the improvement has been due in part to money coming out of loan loss reserves.”

According to Cheney CUs need to get the word out that they are a “better deal.” Although many people have asked him about a national advertising campaign, he said that option would be costly. “I think we can use much less in terms of dollars and get efficient return on those dollars on earned media and social media, rather than traditional media. CUNA and the national Credit Union Roundtable are looking at a national campaign, just not through traditional media.”


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