BILLINGS, Mont.-NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz urged credit unions to invest in their future by reaching out to new members from all ages and walks of life in remarks to the Montana Credit Union Network’s Annual Convention. “Credit unions need to attract younger members and other underserved consumers who will become the borrowers of the future,” Matz stressed. “This is a critical issue for all credit unions, because membership growth is a leading indicator of future safety and soundness.” The theme of the Montana convention was “Kids Count – Investing in Our Future.” Credit union members between the ages of 18 and 24, who are entering their “prime borrowing years” only account for about 5% of adult credit union members, she noted. “It is unnerving that more than half of all adult credit union members have aged beyond their prime borrowing years and there are very few young members to replace these aging members,” she warned. “Unless more credit unions reach younger members today, there will be fewer members to sustain credit unions in the future.” Matz pointed to Trico Educational Federal Credit Union, which has opened branches in both area high schools using tellers from among the students. Additionally, she said adults of different ethnic backgrounds and lower incomes often have difficulties establishing relationships with insured financial institutions. Bear Paw Credit Union is reaching out into the Native American community to help serve new members, she said. “I’m proud to say NCUA played a role in this success story,” Matz added. “All the transactions at the reservation are recorded on a computer system provided through an NCUA Technical Assistance Grant.” “Across the state, Montana credit unions’ outreach efforts are producing real results,” Matz concluded. “Membership growth in Montana is nearly double the national average. Loan-to-share ratios are higher, and charge-offs are lower. By going the extra mile to reach new members from all walks of life, Montana credit unions are making the most important investment in their future.” -

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