LAS VEGAS (11/20/09)--U.S. credit unions continued to lend money when the country’s financial industry collapsed late last year, even when commercial banks reduced loans, a credit union consultant told a Las Vegas credit union conference Tuesday. “We didn't wait for the government, and we didn't wait for government programs," Charles ‘Chip’ Filson told members of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues at the conference (The Las Vegas Review-Journal Nov. 18). Filson is president of Callahan & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm for credit unions and former supervisor of the Illinois Credit Union Division, the Journal said. “Credit unions are filling a void left by the market-based institutions,” Filson told the Journal. Banks have reined in lending despite getting money from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, he added. “At this very same time, credit union loan originations are at an all-time high,” Filson added. “Your institutions have continued to lend. Sometimes, the market doesn’t always produce the right or best solution.” Last year, after securitized loans from the for-profit financial sector vanished, credit unions made $2 billion in student loans, Filson told the Journal. Credit unions have experienced rapid growth in deposits and members, he added. “Members are coming home to credit unions,” Filson said. Credit union membership increased 11% in the third quarter, Filson told the Journal. “We have the strongest capital levels of all financial institutions,” he added.