Lansing, MI (October 31, 2012) --- In the year since consumers were urged to move their money from big banks to credit unions on “Bank Transfer Day” (Nov. 5, 2011), credit unions in Michigan have seen an extraordinary surge in the number of new members.
In the 12 months ending June 2012, credit unions in Michigan welcomed 71,739 new members, a growth rate of 1.6% percent, according to an analysis done by the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates (MCUL) of data from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). That is the fastest rate of growth in Michigan since 2001, and it occurred during a time of contraction in the state’s population.
During the same 12-month period, Michigan’s credit unions also saw a much-higher-than-average increase in the number of new checking accounts opened: 84,777 new accounts, up 3.9% percent from the same period a year earlier.
It’s a trend that is echoed nationwide. Across the U.S., the country’s 7,100 chartered credit unions added 2.2 million new members in the 12 months ending June 2012, a growth rate of 2.2%—the fastest since June 2000 to June 2001. Total membership in U.S. credit unions today stands at more than 95 million.
Moreover, a modern-day record number of nearly 2.9 million new checking accounts were opened at U.S. credit unions in the 12 months ended June 30, the most since at least 1989, according to data from NCUA and CUNA.
MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams attributes membership growth in Michigan and nationwide not to any one day or one movement, but to the reaction to excessive fees imposed by banks, which has in turn led many frustrated consumers to explore the superior service, better value and locally-based presence credit unions offer.
“Bank Transfer Day urged consumers to transfer their accounts from banks to credit unions – and more than 2 million discovered credit unions nationally, including 71,739 here in the state of Michigan,” Adams said. “But the numbers show consumers in the past year have been acting as if every day is Bank Transfer Day.”
Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned by their accountholders, rather than outside investors. Because they are member-owned and not-for-profit, credit unions return their excess earnings back to the members they serve, typically in the form of higher rates on savings accounts, lower rates on loans and by charging lower and fewer fees.
Across the state, Michigan consumers save about $200 million a year by using credit unions rather than banks, according to a CUNA analysis. That works out to about $81 a member or $154 per family.
“And that is just on average,” Adams noted. “The more you use a credit union for your financial services, the more you are going to save. More than half of Michigan’s population now understands that credit unions are simply the smarter choice for financial services.”
For example, at a time when free checking seems to be disappearing at banks, about 80% of credit unions provide at least one free checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no maintenance or activity fees, according to CUNA.
To learn more about what Michigan credit unions have to offer and to find which one is right for you, go to www.creditunionlink.org.
About the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates
Organized in 1934, the Michigan Credit Union League is a trade association representing credit unions statewide. Based in Lansing, the MCUL offers credit unions assistance in the areas of regulatory compliance, legislative advocacy, media advocacy and operational information. For more information, visit www.mcul.org and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MICreditUnions and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MICreditUnions.