Post image for NerdWallet Study: Credit Union Membership Growth Over Past Year

NerdWallet Study: Credit Union Membership Growth Over Past Year

by on October 23, 2012

2011 was a tumultuous time for the banking industry. Many big banks ended free checking and raised service fees as a response to increased regulations. In November, outrage towards Bank of America’s proposed $5 monthly debit card fee prompted the creation of Bank Transfer Day, promoting credit unions as consumer-friendly alternatives to the big banks.

Since then, credit unions have been embracing the role as financial institution of the average consumer.  Some have initiated “Every Day is Bank Transfer Day” slogans for t-shirts and other marketing materials. Even so, many bank customers are hesitant to switch to a credit union because of the perceived complications involved in that process (changing direct deposits, closing old accounts, etc.). Has this pro-credit union buzz actually resulted in significant member growth over the past year?

Almost half of federally insured credit unions experienced growth since last year

NerdWallet analyzed data published by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and found that overall membership is up nationwide and in most states. On an individual basis, 49% of federally insured credit unions experienced an increase from June 2011 to June 2012 (most recently available data).

With the increases coming from less than half of the credit unions, we wondered which states have seen the largest bump. (full table available at the end of the post)

90% of states experienced overall gains in CU membership since June 2011. The top 9 saw gains of 100,000+ new members.

State Membership Growth % Increase
1. Virginia 380,346 5.3%
2. Texas 300,086 3.9%
3. Washington 229,477 8.3%
4. New York 189,401 4.1%
5. Michigan 157,354 3.5%
6. Florida 157,083 3.5%
7. North Carolina 125,085 3.8%
8. California 124,982 1.3%
9. Pennsylvania 104,646 2.9%

In some states, the overall number of credit union members actually declined. Thankfully for CU’s in these states, the average loss was small – just 6,124 members.

State Membership Loss % Decrease
1. West Virginia -13,618 -3.4%
2. Delaware -6,031 -2.8%
3. Arizona -5,389 -0.4%
4. Hawaii -3,921 -0.5%
5. Nevada -1,664 -0.8%

42 states accelerated credit union membership growth over the past year (June 2011 to June 2012), compared with membership growth from the prior year (June 2010 to June 2011). The top states were:

State Growth 6/2010 – 6/2011 Growth 6/2011 – 6/2012 Difference
1. Florida -10,873 157,083  167,956
2. California -30,089 124,982  155,071
3. Washington 85,896 229,477  143,581
4. Michigan 23,868 157,354  133,486
5. Texas 195,304 300,086  104,782

 Past year membership growth: state-by-state

State Growth 6/2011 – 6/2012
AK 38,466
AL 51,694
AR 4,695
AZ -5,389
CA 124,982
CO 47,251
CT 11,309
DC 2,544
DE -6,031
FL 157,083
GA 86,512
HI -3,921
IA 34,749
ID 34,941
IL 40,074
IN 34,314
KS 27,363
KY 15,344
LA 24,204
MA 55,465
MD 16,155
ME 10,715
MI 157,354
MN 60,822
MO 40,267
MS 16,370
MT 3,776
NC 125,085
ND 6,266
NE 10,905
NH 34,901
NJ 7,650
NM 27,092
NV -1,664
NY 189,401
OH 51,646
OK 45,946
OR 80,383
PA 104,646
RI 2,799
SC 25,931
SD 14,101
TN 76,082
TX 300,086
UT 76,440
VA 380,346
VT 12,728
WA 229,477
WI 96,416
WV -13,618
WY 6,611
We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  • futuremilitary

    John,
    Any idea why some states saw declines in CU membership? Seems odd, no?

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

    • NWjohn

      While it’s unclear exactly what forces caused some states’ credit union membership to decline, a closer look at the numbers show that a large proportion of the losses in those states came from a small handful of individual credit unions. For example, IBEW 317 FCU in West Virginia (Charter # 14030) lost nearly 15,000 members over the past year, which offset much of the more modest gains by other institutions.

  • Pingback: Credit Union Membership Growth: Nearly Half Have Seen Gains … | Supreme Credit Cards