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Credit unions see uptick in membership

Credit unions have long been popular with their members thanks to their friendly, local services, and they appear to have grown in popularity over the course of the year. As more people seek alternative money management options, credit unions may need to implement the latest technology, like a self-service coin counter, to better serve their additional members and ensure no one waits in line for too long.

Jump in member growth indicates satisfaction
According to new research from Callahan & Associates, credit unions have seen a surge in member growth. The firm's data indicates that member ownership has expanded by 2.3 million people in the past year, and the number of individuals that are currently members of such a financial institution shot up to 96.1 million. This hints members are not only satisfied with their credit unions, but they are also recommending them to friends and family members.

"We're getting members that may not have had as deep of [a] relationship previously coming back to the credit union," said Jay Johnson, executive vice president of Callahan & Associates. "With nearly 50 million checking accounts today, households are turning to credit unions more than ever."

Spike in loans awarded
While the strong service and personalized account options may lure in some members, other individuals may be drawn to credit unions because of the numerous other benefits they offer. Data from the National Credit Union Administration revealed federally insured institutions reported nearly $600 billion in total loans in the first few months of 2013, a year-over-year jump of $2.3 billion. The NCUA reported this was the fastest growth in lending seen since first quarter 2008 and represents the eighth straight quarter of increases.

Keeping clients satisfied
As a result of the increase in the number of credit union members and those seeking a loan from these institutions, employees will need to be better prepared to handle a jump in demands for service. More members may frequent credit unions to get additional information on accounts, make deposits and apply for loans. Because lines may be longer in the coming months, credit unions may find it useful to offer members access to a coin counter kiosk that can ensure everyone is served in a more timely fashion and no member has to wait in line with a heavy jar of coins.

June 10, 2013