WESTBROOK, Maine (2/18/09)--Maine’s credit unions experienced a strong year in 2008, with assets, shares and loans all increasing, according to year-end statistics reported by member credit unions to the Maine Credit Union League. Asset growth for 2008 was 7.72%, compared with 6% in 2007, putting Maine credit unions on track to top $5 billion in assets later this year. Loans increased over $163 million or 5.13% for the period, and shares grew 6.11%--figures consistent with national trends. Credit union membership remained stable during the year at about 600,000 members. Nationally, Maine has been ranked as the fifth strongest state for credit unions in the past seven years. In difficult economic times, Maine consumers can trust that credit unions will remain safe, strong and growing in the many ways they work to serve their members, said John Murphy, league president. “Now more than ever, Maine consumers can save on financial services thanks to lower fees and better rates on dividends and loans offered by Maine’s credit unions,” Murphy said. “A recent study showed that Maine consumers can save $73 million each year by using a credit union. “When members use a Maine credit union, they not only receive a great value but also piece of mind knowing that Maine credit unions adhere to responsible lending practices and provide sound financial services,” he added.