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Enjoying Growth

Credit unions added assets, members over last year

January 22, 2012
By MIKE ZUMMO , The Leader Herald

Credit unions have been enjoying growth throughout New York state and the U.S. since the second half of 2011.

According to the Credit Union Association of New York, credit unions in the state showed growth in assets, shares, members and loans for the first three quarters of last year that was above the national average.

Locally, it's no different.

Article Photos

Fulton County Federal Credit Union Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Deborah Shepard, left, does a member transaction with Member Service Representative Erica Joseph at the credit union Thursday.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Both Tim Myers, chief executive officer of the Fulton County Federal Credit Union in Gloversville, and Cindy Roberts, coordinator of marketing and public relations for MCT Credit Union, said they have seen growth locally, although specific numbers were not available.

Myers said financial statements for last year have not yet been completed, but he said in both the third and fourth quarters have, he saw growth "by a few hundred members" in each quarter.

Roberts said MCT had a small membership bump prior to the national Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5, organized by activists for credit unions to promote awareness.

"What we think people need to remember most is that when they bank with a local credit union, their money stays here in the community, funding loans for other local people," she said.

Statewide, annual growth figures for assets, shares, members and loans from January 2011 through September 2011 all exceeded national credit union averages. New York credit union assets grew 6.48 percent, shares 6.82 percent, members 2.07 percent and loans 4.16 percent vs. 4.71 percent asset growth, 4.97 percent share growth, 0.65 percent member growth and -0.05 percent loan growth on the national level.

New York credit unions originated $3.3 billion in first mortgages through the end of September, up 5.8 percent from the same time last year. They also originated $1.7 billion in member business loans, a key part of New York credit unions' loan portfolios, throughout the first nine months of the year, increasing their lending volume 10.3 percent from September 2010 levels.

Capital levels at New York credit unions continue to remain high at 11.4 percent of assets - a higher level than New York banks and thrifts, as well as credit unions and banks nationwide.

Myers attributed the Fulton County credit union's growth to its member service and products and services. H he also said there were many factors within the financial industry that aided the overall growth to credit unions.

"These include a large increase in most bank service charges [led by Bank of America imposing a $5 monthly charge for use of a debit card] and the continual superior service levels exhibited by credit unions over banks, as evidenced by several independent customer surveys," Myers said in an email.

He said the credit union offers lower rates on loans and better returns on savings accounts, as well as all the other services that a commercial bank would provide.

"Our decision-making process is based on what is best for the overall membership," Myers said. "We do not have to answer to investors who, it seems, are always looking to maximize profits and thus increase fees, interest rates on loans, or reduce interest paid on savings accounts."

Roberts said credit unions received a lot of publicity from Bank Transfer Day, and she said that promoted awareness of what credit unions are and what they can do for their members.

Myers also said the credit union industry has not cost the American taxpayer any money through federal bailouts.

"I believe that the American people are fed up with big business receiving tax money to bail them out of their poor decision making," he said. "With all of the bank mergers and acquisitions, a person never knows if or when their bank will be changing names and when decisions will be moved from local leaders to places like Albany, Buffalo or out of state. They like to deal with local institutions where they can come in and talk to a live person about their individual situation and receive assistance on how to better their financial health."

Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at



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