As the number of credit unions continue to drop, the number of paid subscribers for most credit union publications has either been static or declining. Yet some publications are advertising growing numbers of subscribers and readers. How can this be? As everyone knows, the honest way to measure the real circulation of any publication is to count only the total number of paid subscriptions, not the freebies. Maybe that’s why some CU publications never talk about “paid” subscribers, much preferring to talk about their “subscribers” and “readers” instead? Although they are reluctant to admit it, to these publications, a “subscriber” is anyone receiving their publication that has a connection with the credit union industry. Most such “subscribers,” usually CU staffers, actually get the publication absolutely free, sometimes for years and years. Even publications that brag about an independent audit can easily mislead. Audit firms allow paid subscribers and freebie “subscribers” to be lumped together as long as the recipients of the publication are involved with CUs and thus “qualified.” These same publications also talk about their “readers.” Everyone who receives their publication, even when most are freebies, is lumped together. That number is then multiplied times the “pass along rate.” For example, it counts all those folks on routing slips. Using the “reader” system of counting, Credit Union Times, which has the highest pass along rate among all national CU publications, would have approximately 50,000 readers of each weekly issue, a number not nearly as important as the nearly 10,000 (and rising) paid subscribers. Fortunately playing games with circulation numbers to basically try and sell more advertising fools no one. -

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Peter Westerman


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.