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100 million Americans now belong to a credit union

September 08, 2014

By Paul Brucker

If you belong to a credit union, you’re one in 100 million.

On August 6, 2014, The Credit Union Association (CUNA) announced that membership in U.S. credit unions has topped 100 million.

Today there are about 7,000 credit unions in the United States and one in three Americans belong to one.

“The long list of benefits to credit union members is no longer one of the country’s best-kept secrets,” says CUNA Senior Vice President Pat Keefe. For instance, nearly 75% of U.S. credit unions offer stand-alone free checking accounts, compared to 38% of banks.

In 2010, credit union membership scarcely grew, increasing by 0.65% or 600,000 memberships, notes CUNA Chief Economist Mike Schenk. But that was before the 2011 Facebook “Bank Transfer Day” campaign was launched by consumers angry at their banks for adding fees for using the bank’s debit cards. Although many banks subsequently canceled these fees, the public meanwhile had become keenly aware of the benefit of credit unions – lower and fewer fees and better rates on savings accounts and loans. And credit union membership in 2011 grew at twice the pace of the previous year, with credit unions adding 1.4 new million members.

In the last 12 months, 2.85 million Americans have joined a credit union

If you haven’t joined a credit union yet, check out Alliant, the nation’s sixth largest credit union, based on assets and deposits. And find out how easy it is to join.

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