WESTBROOK, Maine (6/17/10)--The Maine Credit Union League will hold its 72nd Annual Meeting and Convention Friday and Saturday in Portland with a theme that highlights the opportunities the state’s credit unions provide to their members and communities. The theme, “Maine’s Credit Unions--Opportunities Rock,” highlights the growing popularity and benefits of credit unions. During the past two years, the financial services industry has seen many changes, said the league. As a result, credit unions have provided consumers with many opportunities not found with other financial institutions--such as a continued source of lending, fewer fees and better rates. The role and value of Maine’s credit unions continue to attract positive attention and increased interest from the existing 600,000 Maine credit union members and also from non-members, the league said. During the two-day event, U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) will speak to the more than 600 credit union representatives. Both U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe (D-Maine) and Susan Collins (D-Maine) are expected to send videotaped messages. On Saturday, Mark Sievewright, senior vice president of Fiserv Inc., a provider of information management and technology solutions for credit unions, will be the keynote speaker. Sievewright, with 30 years in the financial services industry, will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing credit unions in the next decade. The convention comes at a time when the Maine credit union system is not only strong but is getting stronger, said the league. Year-end statistics for 2009 show that total assets grew 9% and combined assets at Maine credit unions topped $5 billion. Loans grew by more than $106 million or 3% for the year, while shares increased by 11% or $450 million--nearly double 2008’s growth. Membership at Maine credit unions increased by 5,296 members or 1%. Today, about half of Maine’s population are members of credit unions. Credit unions account for two thirds of the state’s financial institutions.