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Washington
A crisis upside for CUs Mica explains
WASHINGTON (12/29/09)—As the financial crisis and pursuant economic turmoil have sparked consumer ire with banking organizations, more Americans are discovering the cooperative difference that credit unions offer, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica said in a recent column. Writing for the Cooperative Business Journal produced by the National Cooperative Business Association, Mica noted that CUNA data shows credit union membership grew 1.8% during the 12-month period ending June 2009. That figure equals twice the growth rate for the overall U.S. population and was the largest membership growth figure since 2003. Traditionally, Mica said, CUNA research shows that credit union members are not very interested in the credit union’s cooperative structure. But the crisis has pushed consumers—angry at banks—to look for local and consumer-focused alternatives and “more are discovering the cooperative difference that credit unions offer.” “(W)hile consumers may not appreciate the underpinnings of credit unions’ ownership structure, they respond warmly to the natural effects of cooperative ownership: trust and value,” Mica wrote. The CUNA leader also called upon all cooperative sectors to work more closely together to the benefit of all cooperatives—and ultimately consumers. “I am convinced that if credit unions and other cooperatives had a greater recognition of our shared principle and history, we would see greater interaction between these sectors,” Mica wrote, and added: “If consumers’ changing desires cause cooperatives to work together more regularly, we’ll see another silver lining in this dark economic period.”
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