HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (9/30/11)--The strong and steady nature of credit unions, and differences between them and banks, were highlighted in a special feature article in the September issue of New Jersey Business magazine. “New Jerseys’ credit unions have weathered the country’s financial crisis and ensuing recession, exhibiting a small, but steady growth in assets, as well as increased lending that can help boost the state’s economy, industry experts say,” wrote Sharon Sheridan in the article, “Credit Union Crescendo.” Lending at New Jersey credit unions increased 7.6% from December 2007 to September 2010, while it fell 6.5% at the state’s banks, Paul Gentile, president of the New Jersey Credit Union League, said in the article. “Credit union member business lending was up 12.7% in New Jersey last year, double the national average,” Gentile added. “It was up 52% in 2009. The average member business loan at a credit union is $123,455, making them true mom-and-pop small-business loans. This small-business lending can be vital to helping the economic recovery come faster here in New Jersey.” Not only will people benefit from lower loan interest rates and higher dividend interest rates on their savings at credit unions, they also will benefit from credit unions’ overall approach to their members, Andrew Jaeger, president/CEO of Credit Union of New Jersey, Ewing, told the magazine. “A credit union’s No. 1 goal is to serve our members; provide the highest level of value to our members,” Jaeger added. “That means we’ll accept lower levels of profit margin to give back to our members. We will make loans to people that other lenders aren’t able to, for reasons of constraints and having to answer to stockholders.” By staying conservative and not getting involved in the subprime market, Affinity FCU, Basking Ridge, was able to maneuver through the recession, Patrick McDermott, Affinity’s assistant vice president for business solutions, told the magazine. “During the recession, we helped a tremendous amount of members,” McDermott said. “We were in the business of keeping our members in their homes.” Editor’s note: The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions’ MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said. To read the article, use the link.