PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (2/18/10)--Loan growth at West Virginia credit unions is “remarkable,” the West Virginia Credit Union League told the Charleston Gazette Sunday. As of Sept. 30, loan growth was 5.5%--or $1.5 billion, Rich Shaffer, league senior vice president of marketing and communications, told the newspaper. The growth is remarkable because the last four quarters were some of the worst economic declines in history, he added. Assets also grew by 8.5% last year and savings increased by 7.6% in the same time period. West Virginia has 107 credit unions as of Sept. 30 with combined assets of $2.6 billion and savings of $2.1 billion. Shaffer also commented on an independent national survey that showed credit unions scored higher than banks in 10 of 11 interest-rate categories. Banks do poorly in such surveys because their structure is to maximize profits for stockholders, whereas credit unions are nonprofit institutions, Shaffer told the paper (Feb. 14). The article, “Credit unions are low-cost alternative to banks,” also noted that credit unions have garnered positive media coverage from personal finance guru Suze Orman, who talked about credit unions on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” and Diane Sawyer, who mentioned credit unions in a story appearing on ABC’s “World News Tonight.” Orman and Sawyer said that many consumers are moving their money to credit unions from banks because they are tired of banks’ poor customer service and high fees.