WESTBROOK, Maine (2/10/10)--The Maine Credit Union League’s year-end statistics indicate that the Maine Credit Union System is strong and getting stronger, the league said. Year-end stats show that total assets at Maine credit unions grew 9% during 2009, and combined assets topped $5 billion. Loans grew by more than $106 million, or 3% for the year, while shares increased by 11%, or $450 million--nearly double 2008’s growth, said the league. Membership rose by 5,296 members, or 1%. John Murphy, league president, called the year-end statistics “even more impressive in light of the reports from others in the financial services industry. “Despite a challenging economy and a continued environment of uncertainty in the financial services industry, the performance of Maine’s credit unions validates the high level of satisfaction credit unions have amongst existing members,” Murphy said, adding that credit unions have become the preferred option for many consumers seeking new financial services relationships. “The increased awareness of the value and benefits that Maine’s credit unions offer provide plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the opportunities that exist for Maine’s credit unions in the year ahead,” he added. Credit unions have heard from consumers who are turning to them for quality, local financial services, Murphy added. “Word of the willingness and ability of Maine credit unions to help members who are facing economic challenges has spread in the past year, and it is resonating with consumers,” he said.