MADISON, Wis. (9/30/08)--Credit unions are thriving in southern Wisconsin, despite the national economic downturn, according to The Wisconsin State Journal in an article package that took up three fourths of the front page of the paper's business section. The page included a large chart with Bankrate.com and Bauer ratings for nearly 50 credit unions in the area, flanked by two articles--one on the state of the area's credit unions and the other on three proposed mergers involving six area credit unions. The ratings article pointed out that while some banks in the state have struggled with quarterly losses, credit unions there grew overall in assets--up 9.2% to $17.8 billion on June 30--and net income--up 17.2% to $62.1 million from last year--during the first half of 2008. "Credit unions are doing quite well," said Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League in the article. "They go their start in the Depression and came out of tough times. That's what they came from and what they're all about." The article also discussed the merger trend, with a local economics professor noting that merging with a larger credit union can help diversify membership base and attract better employees, and state regulator Suzanne Cowan, director of the state Office of Credit Unions, who said the first half of 2008 was "fairly good for credit unions." It singled out MATC CU of Madison, which hasn't had a delinquent loan in several years, and Teachers CU of Beloit, which ranks among the top 1% credit unions in the nation.