According to the World Council of Credit Unions’ 2011 Statistical Report, credit unions worldwide added 8 million new members in 2011, bringing the total number of credit union members to 196 million in 100 reporting countries, the Madison, Wis.-based World Council announced.
This represents growth of 4.3% from the 188 million total members reported in 2010, the World Council said.
The total number of credit unions fell 3.5%, from 52,945 in 2010 to 51,103 in 2011, indicating a global trend of smaller credit unions merging into larger ones, said Brian Branch, president/CEO for the World Council.
“In countries around the world, smaller credit unions are merging to realize greater economies of scale and develop capabilities to deliver more services to members,” Branch said. “The dramatic upturn in the number of members shows that credit unions are becoming more influential, and consumers are finding them to be better alternatives than many for-profit financial institutions.”
From 2010 to 2011, the World Council also found an increase in credit union loans from $960 billion to $1 trillion, a jump in credit union reserves from $131.7 billion to $141.3 billion, an uptick in assets from $1.5 trillion to $1.6 trillion, and an increase in member penetration from 7.5% to 7.8%. Savings volume trickled slightly from $1.23 trillion to $1.22 trillion.
The World Council has collected data on the international credit union movement for 40 consecutive years and bases report results on country responses to its annual survey.