HARRISBURG, Pa. (12/11/09)--Even though credit unions only own a 3% to 5% financial market share in Pennsylvania, they remain a popular alternative to larger banks, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) told the AltoonaMirror.com Monday. With 550 credit unions and $27 billion in assets, Pennsylvania has the most credit unions of any state, Mike Wishnow, PCUA senior vice president, told the newspaper. The number of Pennsylvania credit unions reached its zenith at 1,593 in 1980, with membership totaling 1.74 million. While the consolidation trend in the business community during the 1980s and 1990s affected the credit union movement, membership rose to nearly 3.5 million in 2008, the paper said. “We have seen membership growth over the last two years,” Wishnow told the paper. “The national growth over the last quarter was 1.9%; Pennsylvania's rate increased by 2.2%.” Most credit unions are small, with less than $10 million in assets, Wishnow added. “Many banks won’t even open a branch unless it has $25 million in assets or higher,” he said. Despite current troubles with the economy, the future for credit unions is bright, Wishnow told the paper. “We did not get caught up in the mortgage and securities crisis,” he added. “The economy has been different, but we think we are better-positioned than any of the competition to weather the storm.” To read the article, use the link.