Credit Unions Try New Methods to Increase Membership / Deposits in Credit Unions Grow While Number of Unions Decline

By Donoghue, William | THE JOURNAL RECORD, August 27, 1987 | Go to article overview

Credit Unions Try New Methods to Increase Membership / Deposits in Credit Unions Grow While Number of Unions Decline


Donoghue, William, THE JOURNAL RECORD


I was thinking recently about how far financial institutions have come during the 1980s - what I've termed ``The Decade of Financial Consciousness.'' By this I mean it's the decade in which America became aware of the myriad of opportunities to become fiscally sound and financially smart.

In short, we're on our way to becoming a generation of truly well-educated financial services consumers.

Of course, this has not gone unnoticed by financial services institutions, which have evolved to accommodate our heightened awareness.

For example, no one ever heard of a ``financial supermarket'' before the 1980s. Two of my early books, the ``Complete Money Market Guide'' and the ``Complete Mutual Fund Guide,'' discuss such relatively new investment opportunities for the 1980s (both are now in paperback). Banks that offer mutual funds? Home equity loans with a credit card? Yes, folks, as Bob Dylan said, the times, they are a changin'.

So I got to wondering what has been happening with the old workers' standby, the credit union. Anyone familiar with my investment advice knows how much I advocate money market and stock mutual funds to maximize your savings growth.

After all, money funds offer all the stability and liquidity of a passbook savings account with the opportunity for much higher returns than the banks are willing to pay.

But I realize that there are quite a few folks out there who are going to have some money in a bank at some time. So, why not look into what credit unions have to offer?

I've read reported results of a couple of surveys of credit unions and their members. What I discovered is that the growth of credit unions experienced a decline, dropping from a peak of 23,700 in 1970 to 17,300 in 1986. But the estimated amount of savings in deposit has grown from $125 billion in 1985 to $152 billion in 1986.

And a poll of credit union members reported that over 90 percent questioned said they have confidence in their credit union's financial soundness. They rated the quality of credit union services they receive as equal to or higher than that received from other financial institutions. …

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