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The credit union industry employs 217,000 people, has $680 million in assets and serves 85 million members. With total assets expected to jump to $900 billion by 2010, it is essential that executives make every effort to grow with minimal risk and to respond to changing conditions with the most efficient, effective approach.

Executives need to think strategically about how to best manage the new facilities that are appearing across the nation. The number of credit union branches grew from 18,805 in 2003 to 19,478 in 2005. Land and building, as a line item, grew at a staggering 11.58% since 2003, from nearly $9 billion to nearly $11.2 billion. This growth in fixed assets has been matched with growth in overhead. Office occupancy expense increased from 6.5% of non-interest expense in 2003 to almost 7% of non-interest expense in 2005, or $1.47 billion. Branch growth averages 1.53% on a compounded basis since 2003. Even if branch growth slows to 1.25%, the credit union industry will be adding 1,250 branches by year-end 2010.

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