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MADISON, Wis. — The quality and depth of relationships with members continues to be a major concern for the industry. According to CUNA Mutual Group’s just-released August Credit Union Trends Report, at 88.5 million, credit unions have added 1.4 million members. Through August, membership gains have averaged 180,000 per month, including the estimated 352,000 member jump that month. The rest of the fourth quarter is expected to remain conservative with adding or losing members, mirroring a trend seen since 2001. “It is important to remember that credit unions lost members in the fourth quarter of 2005,” said Dave Colby, chief economist at CUNA Mutual. “In fact, since 2001, we have seen minimal membership gains or outright losses in the fourth quarter.” Colby said, “quality and depth of member [and] credit union relationships is a major concern” given that growth in savings-per-member has now fallen to 1.6% and annual gains in loans-per-member have slipped to 6.8%, from 9.4% at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, over the past year, the industry has lost 358 credit unions, roughly 23 institutions above the average annual decline over the past four years including a net loss of 38 CUs in August, according to the report. At the end of August, there were an estimated 8,792 CUs.

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