Credit unions are on the rise, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney told attendees at Monday’s Opening General Session. "We face challenges, but we’re getting financially stronger every day, and our best days are still ahead."
"You are in Washington at a critical time," Cheney said. "Just last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed to bring our member business lending bill to the Senate floor for a vote."
Cheney also mentioned a number of positive financial trends affecting credit unions:
• Net worth ratios have rebounded from 9.9% in 2009 to a projected 10.6% this year. "With declining corporate assessments, credit unions’ average net worth ratio is returning to prefinancial-crisis levels," Cheney said.
• Loan growth also is getting stronger. CUNA’s economists are expecting 4% loan growth this year and 6% next year.
• The credit union movement should reach a collective milestone this year as it attains $1 trillion in assets.
"Credit unions are also seeing remarkable membership growth, signing up 1.3 million new members last year—the strongest membership growth in four years," he said.
"CUNA’s most recent voter poll shows that credit unions have the most favorable perception in consumers’ eyes that they’ve ever had," said Cheney. "An impressive 80% of consumers put credit unions in a favorable light, but only 69% of consumers did the same for banks—the lowest level in 14 years. And 74% of consumers said credit unions look out for the little guy, while only 18% of consumers said that about banks."
Cheney can’t recall a time when credit unions received such positive media attention. "The launching of our consumer website, aSmarterChoice.org, coincided well with Bank Transfer Day. It enabled 80% of visitors to do a successful search for a local credit union to join.
"Credit unions are clearly on the rise. We’re working hard to raise the member business lending cap and lighten your regulatory burden. Consumer and media support have never been stronger. Financial trends are improving. And what’s really exciting is that our best days are still ahead."