DULUTH, Ga. (7/28/08)--Though consumer confidence in the financial services industry is shaky, Georgians have found safety in credit unions, according to Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA). The percentage of Americans saying that they have a “great deal” of confidence in U.S. banks fell to 32%, according to a June 23 Gallup poll. That figure is down nine percentage points from June 2007 and 17 percentage points from June 2006. About 1.8 million Georgians belong to a credit union, but many more have not discovered the benefits of belonging. “Credit unions might be one of the best kept secrets in financial services,” said Mike Mercer, GCUA president. Mortgages at Georgia credit unions grew by 14.9% for the past 12 months ending in March. Credit unions operate more conservatively and tend to hold more of their mortgage loans--70%--in portfolio rather than sell them to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the secondary market, the league said. The state’s credit unions have a capital cushion of $1.84 billion. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund up to $100,000.