NEW YORK (11/12/09)--U.S. credit unions continue to grow during the financial crisis by using a conservative, risk-averse approach that has resulted in a slow increase in the number of credit union industry workers and an uptick in member deposits, wrote a columnist Wednesday in the “Bull Bear Report” for fins.com--part of The Wall Street Journaldigital network. “In the 12 months ended in June, 1.6 million Americans joined a credit union, boosting the industry’s assets by 8.2%, according to the Credit Union National Association,” wrote Kyle Stock. “Consider this, only 12 of the almost 8,000 U.S. credit unions have failed this year, according to the National Credit Union Administration, a federal regulator,” Stock added. “At the same time, 120 of the 8,100 or so of the traditional banks in the U.S. have been shuttered this year by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “While the number of credit unions in the U.S. has decreased overall in the past 10 years, consolidation and not failure is the reason--and membership has steadily increased,” Stock wrote. Several credit union CEOs interviewed said they were hiring more staff. What’s driving the growth? Two factors cited in the article are a flight to safety by consumers and the introduction of new products and services by credit unions, such as business loans. “Members go to the credit union and say, 'I’ve got a great car loan from you, I’ve got a great mortgage loan with you. Why can't I get a loan from you for my business?’” Pat Keefe, CUNA vice president of communications and media outreach, told Stock. To read the article, use the link.