HARRISBURG, Pa. (1/30/09)--Pennsylvania credit unions are experiencing an increase in loans and certificate accounts, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA). A favorable front-page article in the Monday issue of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal uncovers the secret of the credit union difference and explains how credit unions assist consumers during difficult economic times (Life is a Highway Jan. 28). Brian Wilcox, chief marketing officer for First Commonwealth FCU, Bethlehem; Francesca Vogel, vice president of strategic planning, Sun FCU’s West Lawn branch; and Mike Wishnow, PCUA senior vice president, communications and marketing, contributed to the article. Wilcox said his credit union “saw a flight to safety as people wanted security the stock market wasn’t offering.” Some deposits came from large banks. First Commonwealth experienced an 18% growth in money market accounts; 14% increase in individual retirement accounts; and 11% growth in certificates of deposit. The credit union also gained 4,200 new members. Vogel said Sun FCU saw a 7.7% increase in loans over the previous year, and deposit growth was up 11.6% over 2007. Credit unions are uniquely positioned, Wishnow said. “They had no role in the mortgage crisis. At the same time, credit unions are very well-capitalized. It’s not surprising they have money to lend,” he explained.