ANN ARBOR, Mich. (3/13/08)--An audit by the St. Joseph, Mich., office of Plante & Moran indicates that Western Michigan credit unions experienced a strong 2007 and are not being hit hard by loan losses (MLive.com March 12). The reason credit unions in Western Michigan--and some in Southwestern Michigan--have experienced a strong fiscal year is because the economy is more diversified, David Adams, president/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League, told News Now. And unlike banks, credit unions have less than 2% of their assets in commercial lending, whereas banks have 40% to 50%. Credit unions also make smaller loans than banks, Adams said. The MLive.com article mentions that Lake Michigan CU, Grand Rapids; Educational Community CU, Kalamazoo; Option 1 CU, Grand Rapids; Consumers CU, Oshtemo Township; and Berrien Teachers CU, St. Joseph, increased their net income for 2007. DFCU, Dearborn--Michigan’s largest credit unions--has done well this year and has distributed a record patronage dividend of $17 million to its members for the second year in a row, Adams said. Dividends are a great way to differentiate credit unions from banks, Adams added. Though the league is aware that some credit unions and banks in Michigan are struggling due to the economy, other credit unions are growing and adding value. “It’s a testament to the credit union model,” he said. Despite some bad news related to the economy, there’s a lot of good news for credit unions, Adams said.