CUs Hit 100 Million Member Mark

Imagine a $100 million dollars. Imagine 100 million M&M's. Now imagine 100 million people.

Today marks a special day in credit union history. We're doing our "happy dance" in celebration of this momentous occasion. Read on for details.

AUG 5, 2014 10:34am ET

-By Caitlin Mollison, who's serving as guest editor for Credit Union Journal.

It's official credit unions have surpassed 100 million members, equal to one of every three Americans, CUNA announced Tuesday.

The 100 million member count is based on data collected from credit unions and compiled by CUNA in its June "Monthly Credit Union Estimates."

The trade group estimates that CU memberships expanded by 2.9% (June 2013 to June 2014) and the 100 million mark was eclipsed this June.

This represents a continuation and acceleration of trends previously reported: Last year memberships expanded by 2.5%, and in 2012 memberships grew 2.1%.

CUNA expects the membership growth to continue in the second half this year and exceed the full-year growth of 2013.

Credit unions added a total of 2.85 million additional memberships over the past year, the largest reported increase in more than a quarter century.

And, in percentage terms, the 2.9% increase was the fastest since 2000, according to CUNA.

"Clearly, there is growing recognition for credit unions among consumers," CUNA president and chief executive Bill Hampel said in a statement. "They increasingly understand that a credit union places their interests above all else, particularly in returning financial benefits to consumer members in the forms of lower rates on loans, higher returns on savings, and lower and fewer fees."

Last year, those financial benefits totaled more than $6 billion, according to Hampel.

"It's the structure of credit unions as not-for-profit, democratically led and cooperatively owned financial institutions that allows credit unions to maintain this focus on returning financial benefits to members," he said. "In fact, by doing so, credit unions have earned the satisfaction and trust of their existing members and are attracting even more."

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