GLASGOW, Scotland (7/28/11)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz encouraged credit unions to “think globally about how to prepare for uncertainty, reach new markets, and better serve consumers” in a speech before the World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) World Credit Union Conference. Matz took the opportunity to reiterate her support—before an international audience-–for easing supplemental capital standards for credit unions and allowing some credit unions to exclude zero-risk assets from their total assets, saying that these two changes “would give well-managed credit unions the flexibility to better manage capital-to-asset ratios under varying economic conditions.” Matz also discussed credit union consolidation, noting that while many "believe ‘small’ means better service, consolidation does have some virtues." Credit union consolidation “allows credit unions to better compete, broaden their geographic reach, and take advantage of economies of scale," she added. Credit unions can grow and enter new markets by applying their traditional community-finding and community-building skills to burgeoning urban communities and tapping into unbanked populations, Matz said. Market share could also be increased by educating and working with younger populations, she added. While consumers between the ages of 25 and 44 do the most borrowing from financial institutions, the average age of American credit union members is currently 47. “Ultimately this trend must be reversed if credit unions are to survive,” Matz said. Citing a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) survey that found that 69% of consumers between 18 and 24 years of age are “not at all familiar” with credit unions, Matz added that “credit unions will have to be creative in order to attract and retain the consumer base of tomorrow.” The NCUA leader said that one way to bring in new members is to give them more mobile banking options. “Younger consumers don’t just desire this service from financial institutions; they demand it,” she said, adding that “credit unions will have to embrace these technologies” going forward. For the full NCUA release, use the resource link.