MILWAUKEE, Wis. (5/20/08)--The type of lending typically conducted by Wisconsin credit unions makes them less susceptible to the loan problems facing the state's banks, according to Wisconsin's credit union regulator. Earnings for Wisconsin's credit unions during first quarter increased almost 20%, according to a state report (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel May 15). Credit unions' net income for the quarter ending March 31 totaled more than $28.1 million, up from $23.5 million for the first quarter 2007. Suzanne T. Cowan, director of the Wisconsin Office of Credit Unions, told the Journal Sentinel that banks have been hurt by loans to home developers who ran into trouble when the housing slump hit. Much of credit unions' lending is concentrated in first mortgages and auto loans, she said. Because credit unions are smaller, they have more conservative loans. The two largest banks in the state saw earnings drop--a 33% decline at Marshall & Ilsley, located in Milwaukee, and a 9.4% decline at Associated Banc-Cop in Green Bay.