WASHINGTON (3/20/12)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said credit unions are "on the rise" and offered attendees of CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) plenty of reason for optimism during his opening remarks on Monday.
CUNA's GAC runs through Thursday.
Cheney noted that overall credit union net worth--which never dipped below "well capitalized"--has rebounded, after bottoming out in 2009. At the end of 2011, credit unions had reached 10.2% net worth, nearly $100 billion--a 41.2% increase over the previous year. CUNA economists predict credit union net worth ratio will reach 10.6% in 2012.
"That's a testament to sound management by credit unions--making the tough decisions for their institutions," Cheney said.
Loan growth is also on the rise again, he said. In 2012 loan growth is expected to by 4% over 2011--and by 6% next year. Later this year credit unions will reach more than $1 trillion in total assets, Cheney added.
"More and more consumers are looking to credit unions as their best option in financial services," he said. "They are looking for ways to beat the high fees and costs of banks. And those that own businesses are looking for a ready source of credit, which the banks aren't giving them."
In fact, credit unions added more than 1.3 million members last year before and after "Bank Transfer Day," Nov. 5. Cheney also introduced Bank Transfer Day founder Kristen Christian, who stressed the importance of passing member business lending cap increase legislation.
Christian encouraged legislators to "think of our communities, and raise the member business lending cap so we can build a brighter tomorrow by working together today."
CUNA's Cheney reiterated that, despite challenges, credit unions are in a position of strength.
"We're stronger financially, have incredible public support, arguably the best press coverage that we've ever had, a new, bolder approach on Capitol Hill--and strong, determined champions in Congress," he said.
"Plus, we have the dedication and commitment of credit union staff and volunteers across the nation. With all of that going for us, there can only be success--and the best times for our movement--ahead of us," Cheney said.