(Portland, ME) – According to recently-released year-end statistics for 2016, the popularity and usage of Maine’s credit unions continued to surge in 2016 in all growth categories, led by an increase of nearly 20,000 new members in the past year alone. As of year-end 2016, membership in Maine’s credit unions grew to 685,926 members. While membership growth was impressive, perhaps, even more impressive and important to Maine’s economy was the fact that Maine’s credit unions reported an increase of more than $456 million in lending.
For the twelve-month period ending December 31, 2016, combined assets at Maine’s 58 credit unions grew by nearly $450 million to $7.28 billion. The ability of consumers and small businesses to continue to have access to credit helped outstanding loans at Maine credit union top the $5 billion milestone for the first time ever. Lending increased by 9.6% in 2016 to end the year at $5.23 billion in loans. Savings at Maine’s credit unions grew by more than $390 million in 2016, an increase of 6.8%, to collectively bring total savings at Maine’s credit unions above $6 billion for the first time and now stand at $6.2 billion. Total credit union membership in Maine jumped by nearly 3%, or slightly more than 18,000 members, the second highest percentage membership growth in the nation just behind Alaska. In the past three years, Maine’s credit unions have added 50,000 new members.
John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, said, “We have said for years that Maine’s credit unions are the best value in financial services, and consumers are recognizing the benefits in record numbers. We are particularly pleased with the healthy growth in membership and lending. All of those dollars that credit unions lend go back into local communities across the state, whether through the purchase of vehicles, homes, retail products and small business loans. Credit unions have done a great job of providing consumers with convenience, technology and value. From a shared branch network that has nearly three times as many branches as any single bank in Maine and the largest, surcharge-free ATM Network in Maine to the latest products and services including remote deposit and mobile banking, Maine’s credit unions are meeting the needs of today’s marketplace, and consumers of all demographics have responded.”
Murphy noted that credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, not only local but owned by the people that use their services. “Maine is a strong cooperative state, and credit unions match the ideals that want. To add 50,000 new members in the past three years, when population growth in Maine has been essentially stagnant, is a testament to the cooperative structure of credit unions.” Aside from the structural benefits of using a credit union, Murphy explained that the economic benefits are significant. “In 2016, Maine consumers saved $57 million by using a credit union through lower and fewer fees, and better rates on loans and dividends. That is another big reason why more than half of Maine’s population belongs to a credit union.”
About the Maine Credit Union League
Formed in 1938, the Maine Credit Union League is the State Trade Association for Maine’s 58 credit unions and more than 685,000 members, providing a variety of services and products to assist credit unions in meeting the needs of their membership. For more information, visit www.mainecul.org.