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CUs are the hot thing in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. (3/11/10)--There are many reasons why credit unions “have skyrocketed in popularity” with Mississippi consumers, according to Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union Association. “First, I would say that people’s awareness of credit unions has increased significantly in the past few years,” Elliott told the Mississippi Business Journal (Feb. 22) in an article headlined “Bye-bye banks? Credit unions are the hot thing.” “Media coverage has been very positive,” he added. “I think people have a lot of confidence and trust in credit unions.” There are 96 credit unions with more than 555,000 members in Mississippi, the publication said. Elliott said he believes there has been a backlash against large banks after some of their lending practices led the economy to slump. Still, credit unions are not viewed as major competitors to banks, he told the Journal. “[Credit unions] only make up about 6% of the money market,” Elliott said. “That number hasn't changed in the past few years.” “Banks are owned by people who have stock in the bank and whatever profits the bank realizes must be paid to the stockholders,” Elliott said. “Our rates and fees are favorable and a large portion of financial institutions have stopped lending. We’ve never stopped lending. Every member owns the credit union.” A Jackson, Miss., credit union manager agreed with Elliott. “We don't have the overhead that banks do,” Charlotte Hutchison, who manages the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol FCU in Jackson, told the Journal. “… Since members own the credit unions, we return profits to members and not shareholders.”
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