NEW YORK (3/17/09)--Credit unions are gaining new stature as reliable sources of lending in the tempest-tossed credit market, says an article headlined "Safe Havens: Credit Unions Earn Some Interest" in Sunday's The Wall Street Journal. "Big banks have become wards of the government while smaller banks are failing at a rate of about one a week," says the article. However, "more and more savers and borrowers are finding a safe harbor in the sleepiest, most unexciting corner of the financial world: credit unions." The article discusses rates on one-year certificates of deposit, home-equity lines of credit and fixed-rate mortgages for both credit unions and banks and provides charts and statistics provided by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Mike Schenk, CUNA senior economist, also provides statistics on credit unions' robust loan growth in first mortgages and used-auto loans. In an interview with Stephen Birkelbach, who joined Community First CU in Jacksonville, Fla., three years ago to finance a truck, Birkelbach talks about how he was so impressed with the customer service at the credit union that he moved all his financial business, including the accounts of his local carpet-cleaning business, to the credit union. The article also discusses today's economic environment and notes that although feeling pinched, credit unions have maintained stability. To access the full article, use the resource link.