PHOENIX (6/2/09)--Arizona credit unions were hit hard by a housing downturn, the job market and increases in bankruptcies during first quarter 2009, reports the Arizona Credit Union League. The credit unions are feeling the pain their members are feeling, Scott Earl, league president/CEO, told Associated Press. Roughly 95% of Arizona-based credit unions say they lost money during first quarter 2009. That compares with 75% of Arizona-based banks reporting losses for that period. Membership in credit unions, however, has risen to nearly 1.6 million members in the state, because people are seeking low-risk places to put their money, Earl said. More than one-third of the state's credit unions lost as least $1 million for first quarter. Arizona FCU, Phoenix, reported losing $48 million during the period, after a $116 million loss in 2008. Ron Westad, president/CEO of the $1.738 billion asset credit union noted that it's members are "middle America, and they have been drastically impacted by the local economy." The credit union reduced staff, tightened lending standards, closed some branches and reduced advertising. It also improved its loan quality and expects a better second quarter. Desert Schools FCU, a $3.167 billion asset credit union in Phoenix, reported a $12.8 million loss for the quarter. The state's largest credit union also said it still grew through the recession--with a 4% increase in membership, an 8% increase in deposits and 10% growth in loans.