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CU System
Wisconsin banks CUs vying for market share
MADISON, Wis. (2/5/09)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League's new Credit Union House located across the street from the State Capitol will command a front-row view of the struggle for market share of about $180 billion in assets held by Wisconsin's financial institutions, according to a Madison, Wis. newspaper. In 1990, credit unions counted 8% of total assets held among the state's financial institutions. Market share was 13% in 2003, but has since dropped closer to 10%, said Madison.com (Feb. 3). Since 2003, credit unions grew in assets 39% to $18.3 billion--less than the combined assets of Wisconsin's two largest banks. Assets in banks grew nearly 80% since 2003, to $158.9 billion, but the state's Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) maintains that the bank growth is just "normal growth patterns" and not extraordinary. Bank deposits grew at about the same 4.5% rate in 2006 and 2007. The article quoted Wisconsin Credit Union League President/CEO Brett Thompson, who discussed the new location and notes that membership in credit unions has grown. It also interviewed members of Heartland CU who moved their accounts from a bank to the credit union because of customer service. "The bank just kept charging more fees. They even wanted to charge me a fee to close my account," they said. Dean Wilson, CEO of Focus CU, Menomonee Falls and league chairman, told the newspaper that in today's economic times, credit unions have proved they offer a safe haven for consumers, "especially those whose financial needs are too small to drive corporate profits." In the article, a spokesman for a banking association took the opportunity to attack credit unions' tax-exemption status and service of people of "modest means." League spokesman Chad Helminak noted that credit unions' goal is "providing savings to all working people regardless of income." The article also discussed history of the credit union movement, including the Credit Union National Association. Use the link for the full article.
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