ROANOKE, Va. (9/22/09)--Credit unions in the Roanoke, Va., metro area recently told The Roanoke Times why they’re increasing their market share. Credit unions in the U.S. collectively posted assets of $82 billion this past summer. Credit union membership growth hit 2% this summer, the highest rate since 2004 (The Roanoke Times Sept. 21). The newspaper asked why credit unions are growing, and six Southwest Virginia credit unions gave the Times a link to a website: CreditUnionsAreBetter.com, a promotional campaign site that declares credit unions as “People Over Profit.” Paul Philips, CEO of Freedom First CU in Salem, Va., told the newspaper that there is no “fat cat.” The credit union tries to charge its members the least amount possible for services, he added. Freedom First has $273 million in assets. Wei Jiang, senior analyst at SNL Financial in Charlottesville, said banks work for their investors, whereas credit unions work for their members. “[Credit unions’] purpose is not to make money,” Jiang said. Credit unions may not be as popular as traditional banks, but that’s because many people don’t understand what credit unions are about. It’s a matter of awareness, Mark Wolff, Credit Union National Association spokesman, told the newspaper. The paper also noted that credit union deposits are backed by the National Credit Union Administration.