Virginia-Based Credit Unions Hit Record-High 13.9 Million Memberships; Almost Double the Number of a Decade Ago
Vice President, Public Relations & Communication
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Virginia’s 117 member-owned, not-for-profit credit unions hit major milestones in the first quarter of 2020, reaching 13.9 million memberships and $188 billion in assets.
Credit unions across the Commonwealth and nation have added record levels of new members since the financial crisis a decade ago. Total memberships for Virginia-based credit unions stood at 7 million at year-end 2010.
“We estimate Virginia’s credit unions saved their member-owners $1.8 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, thanks to their consumer-friendly loan and savings rates,” said Virginia Credit Union League President Rick Pillow. “Credit unions’ not-for-profit, member-owned structure means they put the needs of their member-owners first and that’s something more working families have come to appreciate.”
Membership growth for Virginia-based credit unions totaled 7 percent for the year ended March 31, 2020. An estimated 4 million Virginians are members of a credit union. Owed to many Virginia-based credit unions serving members of the military and agencies of the federal government, members of Virginia-based credit unions span the globe.
With strong growth in membership, Virginia-based credit unions saw more than $22.2 billion pour into share draft (checking accounts) during the past year, representing a 256 percent growth rate for the year ended March 31, 2020. Some growth in share draft/checking accounts is likely the result of members moving money during March from their regular share/savings accounts to their share draft/checking accounts to cover expenses. Almost 900,000 U.S. workers were laid off in March, while hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. workers were forced to cope with reduced income as pandemic-related lockdowns shuttered much of the economy.
The commonwealth’s credit unions continued their strong showing in lending, with member business lending leading the way at 33 percent growth for the year ended March 31. Credit cards, loans for used automobiles, home equity loans/second mortgages also recorded strong growth for the year -- at 11 percent, 7.5 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.
Analysts note the nation’s credit unions saw loan growth in March that outpaced the loan growth seen in March 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to keep interest rates on loans at the lowest level in history and the unemployment rate at the highest in modern history for the next two years. Data in the third and fourth quarters will reflect the full impact of the pandemic on credit unions, say analysts, though the nation’s credit unions entered the pandemic well-positioned to aid members and weather the economic downturn owed to their significant levels of capital.
“During this ongoing health crisis and the unprecedented shock to our economic system it has caused, credit unions remain a shelter in the storm for Virginia’s families, as they have during every crisis faced by our nation during the past century,” says Pillow.
Consumers looking to join a member-owned credit union can visit yourmoneyfurther.com.
ABOUT THE VIRGINIA CREDIT UNION LEAGUE
The Virginia Credit Union League is the state trade association for the Commonwealth’s not-for-profit, member-owned credit unions. Through leadership, vision and the trust of our credit unions, the League is ensuring the growth, success and diversity of Virginia’s credit unions. Learn more at vacul.org.
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