Credit Unions

Credit unions, generally set up by groups of individuals with a common link, such as membership in a labor union, are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that offer personal loans and other consumer banking services. Originating in Europe, the first credit union in this country was formed in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1909. Credit unions now serve nearly 92 million people in the United States.

In 1934 President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, authorizing the establishment of federally chartered credit unions in all states. The purpose of the federal law was “to make more available to people of small means credit for provident [provisions for the future] purposes through a national system of cooperative credit...” In 1970 the National Credit Union Administration, which charters and supervises credit unions, was created along with the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which insures members’ deposits. Individual credit unions are served by 28 federally insured corporate credit unions, which provide investment, liquidity and payment services for their members.

 

FEDERAL CREDIT UNIONS AND FEDERALLY INSURED STATE-CHARTERED CREDIT UNIONS, 1980-2011

(End of year)

  1980 1990 2000 2009 2010 2011
Operating credit unions            
     Federal 12,440 8,511 6,336 4,714 4,589 4,447
     State 4,910 4,349 3,980 2,840 2,750 2,647
Number of failed institutions 239 164 29 28 18 16
Members (000)            
     Federal 24,519 36,241 43,883 49,604 50,081 50,743
     State 12,338 19,454 33,705 40,323 40,447 41,093
Assets ($ millions)            
     Federal $40,092 $130,073 $242,881 $482,684 $500,075 $525,633
     State 20,870 68,133 195,363 401,993 414,395 436,121
Loans outstanding ($ millions)            
     Federal 26,350 83,029 163,851 311,154 306,276 308,845
     State 14,852 44,102 137,485 261,367 258,555 262,640
Shares ($ millions)            
     Federal 36,263 117,892 210,188 408,832 427,603 449,316
     State 18,469 62,082 169,053 343,836 358,877 378,093

Source: National Credit Union Administration.

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CREDIT UNION MEMBERS, 1980-2011

(000)

Source: National Credit Union Administration.

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  • From 1980 to 2011 federal and federally insured state credit union assets grew from $61 billion to $962 billion. In 2011 assets increased by $47 billion, or 5.2 percent, from 2010.
  • There are currently fewer than 500 non-federally insured state-chartered credit unions.

 

ASSETS AND LIABILITIES OF CREDIT UNIONS, 2007-2011

($ billions, end of year)

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Total financial assets $695.8 $748.8 $805.7 $835.8 $853.7
Reserves at Federal Reserve 0.0 4.7 22.8 36.9 46.1
Credit market instruments 657.9 697.8 731.0 755.6 790.8
Open market paper 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
U.S. government securities 78.8 91.7 125.0 171.6 199.7
     Treasury 10.4 8.8 14.2 20.0 17.5
     Agency- and GSE (1)-backed securities 68.4 82.9 110.8 151.6 182.2
Corporate and foreign bonds 34.6 25.7 18.6 3.7 4.1
Depository institution loans 27.3 32.1 33.4 36.9 43.5
Home mortgages 280.2 312.2 316.9 317.0 320.5
Consumer credit 236.6 236.2 237.1 226.5 223.0
Mutual fund shares 2.1 2.0 1.3 1.5 1.8
Miscellaneous assets 35.9 44.3 50.6 41.9 15.0
Total liabilities $625.4 $679.0 $738.3 $764.7 $776.0
Net interbank liabilities -60.3 -65.9 -76.9 -76.2 -90.1
Shares/deposits 652.3 697.4 769.4 803.8 845.3
     Checkable 73.7 75.3 86.9 92.4 103.1
     Small time and savings 508.7 551.7 655.1 681.3 708.7
     Large time 69.9 70.4 27.3 30.1 33.5
Federal funds and security repos (2) -2.5 2.3 -0.1 0.0 -15.9
Other loans and advances 32.3 40.6 26.5 26.1 24.2
Miscellaneous liabilities 3.6 4.7 19.4 11.0 12.4

(1) Government-sponsored enterprise.
(2) Security repurchase agreements; short-term agreements to sell and repurchase government securities at a specified date and at a set price.

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, June 7, 2012.

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CREDIT UNION DISTRIBUTION BY ASSET SIZE, 2011 (1)

(End of year)

Asset size ($ millions) Number of
credit unions
Percent change
from Dec. 2010
Assets
($ millions)
Percent change
from Dec. 2010
$0 to $0.2 103 -10.4% $12 -7.9%
$0.2 to $0.5 187 -11.8 64 -13.2
$0.5 to $1 245 -5.4 182 -5.2
$1 to $2 385 -11.1 574 -11.0
$2 to $5 811 -7.0 2,766 -7.6
$5 to $10 924 -5.7 6,767 -5.8
$10 to $20 1,071 -3.9 15,427 -3.6
$20 to $50 1,338 -1.7 43,241 -1.2
$50 to $100 834 -0.7 58,925 0.0
$100 to $200 588 2.3 82,565 2.3
$200 to $500 468 0.4 148,578 0.9
$500 to $1,000 214 2.4 149,841 2.6
More than $1,000 183 8.3 473,132 9.9
Total 7,351 -3.3% $982,073 5.1%

(1) From Credit Union Call Reports.

Source: Credit Union National Association.

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TOP TEN U.S. CREDIT UNIONS BY ASSETS, 2010 (1)

($ millions, end of year)

Rank Company Assets
1 Navy Federal Credit Union $44,198.4
2 State Employees' 21,463.2
3 Pentagon 14,894.9
4 Boeing Employees 9,180.7
5 SchoolsFirst 8,497.4
6 The Golden 1 7,748.7
7 Alliant 7,592.4
8 Security Service 6,167.9
9 Star One 5,431.6
10 American Airlines 5,192.8

(1) Federally insured credit unions.

Source: National Credit Union Administration.

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