CHARLOTTE, N.C. (9/30/08)--With the failure of many banks due to the ongoing U.S. fiscal crisis, credit unions are getting a good look from consumers as a viable alternative, according to a North Carolina newspaper. Coastal FCU, Raleigh, has seen strong growth in 2008, adding 13,600 members so far this year--an 8.5% increase, said Joe Mecca, Coastal spokesman (The News & Observer Sept. 28). The credit union also has seen a nearly 60% increase in new checking accounts and a 20% uptick in loans, Mecca told the publication. All this growth has been organic--Coastal has not constructed any new branches, he said. Consumers are beginning to become aware that credit unions are no longer just small financial institutions with few branches and ATMs, Mecca added. For example, Coastal is part of a national ATM network of credit unions with more than 50,000 machines nationwide, he said.