PEORIA, Ill.-A number of credit unions last week announced new year-end bonus dividends.

CEFCU said it is paying its members a record $9-million holiday dividend. The $4.8-billion credit union will pay $4.5 million to savers and $4.5 million to borrowers.

"This is a distribution of CEFCU's capital to our members," said President Mark Spenny, noting that CEFCU experienced a strong year, earning a record $33.9 million for the first three quarters of the year. "We had lower loan losses than last year, plus we saw strong demand for home mortgage and auto loans. There was also strong refinancing activity with interest rates at record or near-record levels," he said.

The one-time Caterpillar Employees credit union paid its members a $7-million holiday bonus last year, and has paid members $59 million in special bonuses over the past 12 years, CEFCU reported.

In Fairborn, Ohio, Wright-Patt CU, on pace for its best year ever, announced it is paying members a $6-million Special Patronage Dividend Jan. 3, its biggest member payout yet.

The $2.5-billion credit union, which earned a record $30.8-million net for the first three quarters of the year, will share the payout with 230,000 members. Last year's payout was $5 million, and the year before it was $4 million.

To be eligible for the Special Patronage Dividend, a member must be in good standing both currently and at the payment date. Many members will easily receive $15 just for having an active debit card, using home or mobile banking and having e-statements. The credit union said some members will receive several hundred dollars.

"Our ability to pay a dividend each year depends on many factors-the most important of which is that members are involved with and using their credit union," said Doug Fecher, president of Wright-Patt.

Meanwhile, in Groton, Conn., Charter Oak FCU said it was awarding $330,000 in annual bonuses to its Gold Rewards members, bringing the total payout in bonuses and ATM rebates to over $1 million since the member-appreciation program's launch in 2010.

"Gold Rewards is our way of saying thank you, and happy holidays, to all those members who've made Charter Oak their primary financial institution," said Brian A. Orenstein, CEO of the Groton-based credit union.

More than 3,300 Gold Rewards members qualified for this year's annual bonus, up from over 2,700 members in 2011. Charter Oak deposited the $100 bonus into Gold Rewards members' accounts on Dec. 10.

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