COLUMBUS, Ohio (7/9/10)--More than 17,000 Ohio residents joined credit unions for their financial needs between March 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010, according to the first quarter 2010 results of the Ohio Credit Union Quarterly Performance Summary. The results mark a record fifth straight quarter in which membership in Ohio credit unions grew, said the Ohio Credit Union League. Credit unions grew by 10,000 new members in the first quarter of 2010. Consumers’ anti-bank sentiment and a “flight to safety” drove the numbers, the league said. “This should not come as a surprise anymore,” said Paul Mercer, league president. “Membership growth at credit unions has moved beyond just a trend and is now a regulr occurrence.” It also noted the positive effects of “Move Your Money,” a national campaign geared at encouraging consumers to switch to credit unions and community banks from big banks. Its growing popularity likely contributed on a micro level to credit union growth in Ohio and nationally, said Pat Keefe, vice president of communications for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Member business lending at Ohio credit unions also is booming. About 90 of Ohio’s 392 credit unions reported outstanding business loan balances totaling of $357 million statewide, a 12.7% increase from the previous March. The delinquency rates at credit unions remain far below that of Ohio banks and thrifts, the league said. CUNA and its member credit unions are encouraging lawmakers to raise the current 12.25% cap on member business lending at credit unions. An amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to a budget stimulus bill would raise the cap to 27.5%. Allowing credit unions to make more business loans would inject more capital into the economy and create jobs, CUNA has said.