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Virginia CUs add almost one million members since 2005
LYNCHBURG, Va. (12/1/09)--Consumers are turning to Virginia’s credit unions in record numbers, according to data collected by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Roughly 170,000 consumers opened accounts at Virginia-based credit unions between July 2008 and June 2009, and nearly one million new members have been added since year-end 2005. Membership for Virginia’s credit unions stood at 6.3 million in June 2009. About three million reside in the commonwealth. Many military and former military credit unions based in Virginia count members worldwide. Credit unions in Virginia also originated more than 622,000 loans worth $17.3 billion during the first half of 2009, according to NCUA data. “Virginia’s credit unions are still lending, thanks to strong capital and the fact they avoided the risky lending practices now plaguing so many other institutions,” said Virginia Credit Union League President Rick Pillow. “Consumers also are discovering [that] credit unions are the smart choice for a financial partner, as families seek to cope with the challenges of today’s economy. “With better rates and fewer fees, Virginia’s credit unions are saving their members an estimated $869 million annually compared with the cost of loans and services at other financial services providers,” he added. As for mortgage loans, Virginia credit unions made more than $7.73 billion in first, second and other mortgage-related loans during the first six months of the year. First-mortgage lending experienced an annual growth rate of 17.7% for June 2009. The growth rate was 36.4% for calendar year 2008 and 33.3% for 2007. Although consumer demand nationwide for new-auto loans has dropped, Virginia credit unions still reported about $5.8 billion in such loans as of June 30. Outstanding loans for pre-owned automobiles totaled nearly $6 billion as of June 30, an almost $300 million increase since December 2008. Virginia’s credit unions also reported increased member business lending, filling an important need as small businesses seek credit to grow and sustain their operations and provide a boost to the economy, the league said. Member business loans account for almost $513 million of Virginia credit unions’ combined loan portfolio, but that number is rising. The annual growth rate for member business lending hit 48.1% as of June. A bill pending in Congress could open the door for more small businesses seeking credit through credit unions by raising a restrictive cap on member business loans, the league said. “Virginia’s credit unions remain a safe harbor for their members’ savings and other accounts, despite the economic woes,” Pillow said, adding that there’s no better time to be a credit union member.”
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