WASHINGTON (2/26/13)--The credit union difference was front and center as Credit Union National Association Chief Economist Bill Hampel presented this year's CUNA Member Benefits Awards on Monday.
The awards, which went to the credit unions that provide members with the best bang for their buck, were presented during the afternoon session of CUNA's 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference.
To determine the award winners, CUNA asked GAC-registered credit unions for their rates on various loans and deposit accounts. CUNA then examined that information, along with call report data on the amounts of credit unions'loans and deposits. The credit union information was then compared with third party info on bank rates to calculate how much members from given credit unions saved as a result of using their credit union instead of local banks.
From first to third place, the credit unions with $75 million in assets and less that provided maximum benefits per member household were:
- United Health CU, Burlingame, Calif.;
- Valley CU, Salem, Ore.; and
- First Class American CU, Fort Worth, Texas.
The award winners for credit unions with between $75 million and $250 million in assets were:
- Boston Firefighters CU, Dorchester, Mass.;
- St. Louis Community CU, St. Louis, Mo.; and
- Community Financial CU, Broomfield, Colo.
Award winners with more than $250 million in assets were:
- Melrose CU, Briarwood, N.Y.;
- Southwest Airlines FCU, Dallas, Texas;
- Alliant CU, Chicago, Ill.
The benefits offered by these and other credit unions are the types of benefits that helped members nationwide save $6 billion last year, Hampel said. The benefits were offered by credit unions in a low interest rate environment--and the difference between credit union and bank interest rates will become more pronounced as base interest rates increase in the future, he added.
Fostering service excellence is a key pillar of CUNA's new strategic vision for the credit union system, which was unveiled on Monday. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney stressed that the system must work together so that credit unions across the board can offer a complete set of forward-looking and constantly improving financial services to members of all backgrounds and life stages. These changes will help the credit union system reach the goal of $20 billion in member benefits, and 50 million members that consider credit unions their primary financial institutions, by 2023. (See News Now story: Cheney Calls On CUs To 'Unite For Good')