WESTBROOK, Maine (8/20/08)--The first six months of 2008 revealed that Maine’s credit unions posted increases in all major categories--assets, shares, loans and membership--they reported to the Maine Credit Union League. As of June 30, assets at Maine credit unions increased 5.86%, loans grew by 2.22%, and shares (savings) showed the highest growth at 6% from January to June. Membership at Maine’s credit unions grew by nearly 5,000 members to 600,000 statewide. Nationally, Maine has been ranked as the fifth strongest credit union state for the past six years, the league said. “During these difficult economic times, credit unions remain a safe and sound option for quality, low-cost financial services for consumers,” said John Murphy, league president. “Maine credit unions hold a trusted position in the communities they serve and that translates into more consumers taking advantage of the benefits that using a credit union offers. In recent months, Maine credit unions have responded to the worries of many Maine consumers about the high cost of heating their homes this winter. “A number of Maine credit unions have introduced no or low-interest energy assistance loans as well as weatherization loans to help make members’ homes more energy efficient,” he continued. “These special loan programs mean even more benefits and savings for credit union members on top of the millions that Maine consumers collectively saved last year by using a credit union.” The mid-year statistics also indicate that credit unions continue to outpace most competitors in convenience and access. The number of credit union locations in Maine now stands at nearly 200 across the state, the league said. Also, the Maine Credit Union SurF ATM Network has more than 200 surcharge-free ATMs, making it one of the largest networks in the state. In the first six months of the year, the Maine Credit Union shared branch network, which enables members of participating credit unions to conduct most financial transactions at other credit unions, increased 20%. It has 85 locations in Maine and 3,400 nationwide.