Credit unions had a net increase of about 300,000 members in December and 1 million during the final quarter of last year, according to a preliminary analysis of data by CUNA.
The trade association estimates that total membership at credit unions had a net increase of 1.9 million members in 2011.
The publicity surrounding Bank Transfer Day fueled some of the growth, which CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said would probably result in greater demand for loans early this year.
“A lot of the new members were young people, who are a prime target group for loans. Their initial deposits will be share drafts but once they develop a good relationship they will go to credit unions when they need loans,’’ Hampel said.
Credit unions had $586.3 billion in outstanding loans at the end of December, up from $584 billion at the end of November and $580.3 at the end of December 2010, CUNA said.
Credit unions had $846.7 billion in savings at the end of December, compared with $837.3 billion at the end of November and $803.8 billion at the end of December 2010.
Bank Transfer Day, which took place last Nov. 5, began on the Internet when Los Angeles art gallery owner Kristen Christian became angry when Bank of America announced a plan to charge $5 per month for people that use debit cards.
The charge, which the bank eventually decided not to levy, was a response to the Federal Reserve’s capping of debit interchange fees. The Dodd-Frank financial overhaul that Congress passed in 2010 required the Fed to regulate those fees.
CUNA estimated that there was a net increase of 40,000 new members on Bank Transfer Day itself.