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MADISON, Wis. – The member count in 2004 had nearly stalled but this year looked a bit more promising. Earlier this year, industry estimates showed the industry would have nearly 88 million members by the end of 2005. The latest update from CUNA Mutual Group’s Credit Union Trends Report shows member numbers were up fractionally through October at 87.4 million. The year-to-date gain through the first 10 months of 2005 was 1.4 million. That’s roughly 313,000 members better than the 2004 results for the same period, according to the report. Credit unions grappled with a few unforeseen scenarios. Hurricane Katrina, for instance, impacted more than 370 credit unions, which served 1.7 million members. A surge in indirect auto lending in August and September provided a much-needed membership boost. The challenge here is turning these indirect borrowers into multiple product and service users, said Dave Colby, CUNA Mutual chief economist and author of the report. Former NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz continued her appeal to credit unions to reach out to low-income people, recent immigrants, women and minorities. At a CUNA Lending Council late last year, Matz said Latinos and Asians still remain underrepresented at credit unions even though both of these groups are projected to grow another 75% to 85% through 2020. The African-American population is also projected to grow 30% for the same period, she said. Matz encouraged credit unions to offer “predatory” loan alternatives and affordable mortgages and member business loans. Meanwhile, consolidation continued to lower the credit union count throughout the year. CUNA Mutual projected that the industry would lose 371 credit unions this year. As of October, that number stands at 331 leaving the movement with 9,091 credit unions. For the same time period in 2004, there were 9,437 credit unions. [email protected]

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