PORTLAND, Maine (10/4/11)--Maine's credit unions experienced across-the-board increases in all key categories including assets, savings, lending and membership for Jan. 1-June 30, according to the Maine Credit Union League's mid-year statistics for the period. Growth was even more significant when compared with the same period in 2010. Credit unions' combined assets in the state rose $5.56 billion or 3% since January. Loan growth was positive--a contrast to many other financial institutions in Maine and in the nation, said the league. Real estate loans rose 5.1%, savings increased by $126 million or 2.7% from the end of the year, and the influx of consumers to credit unions continued with a 0.7% growth or 4,388 new members during the first six months of 2011. Maine credit unions now serve 615,108 members. "As consumers continue to seek value in financial services, especially as economic challenges remain for many Mainers, Maine credit unions are well-positioned to provide value and benefits that consumers seek," said John Murphy, league president. "We expect this trend to continue, as other financial institutions introduce new fees and increase existing ones, and consumers are growing weary of fees," he said. "Meanwhile, Maine credit unions offer products and services without fees, such as no-fee debit cards, free checking at most credit unions, the largest no-fee ATM networks in Maine, a shared branch network with access to nearly 150 locations in Maine and 4,300 nationwide, as well as the sophisticated technology to access and conduct transactions. Many of the state's credit unions have reported hearing from consumers interested in using a credit union as a result of the recent decision by Bank of America, with other banks expected to follow suit, to impose a $5 fee on debit cards, Murphy said. "Maine credit unions are a great deal, and more consumers are discovering that every day." He also attributed growth to record volumes of consumers rushing to take advantage of the low mortgage interest rates and low home prices.