HOBOKEN, N.J. — As credit unions now find opportunity in astruggling economy, Credit Union Times looks back 10 years ago whencredit unions saw record growth in share drafts and first mortgagesduring volatile international and domestic markets and low consumerconfidence.

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For the first time share draft deposits at credit unions showeddouble-digit growth in 1998, growing 10.2% for the year ended June30 to reach $38.7 billion, up from $35.2 billion at mid-year 1997.The number of credit union share draft accounts also increased from35.8% to 37.5%.

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First mortgages approved by credit unions rose 102% as of June30, 1998. Total fixed and adjustable rate first mortgages reached$15.1 billion in the first six months of 1998, compared to $7.5billion granted over the same period in 1997. At the time, thatincrease was the largest ever posted in the credit unionindustry.

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At the time Chip Filson, president of Callahan and Associatessaid, “in the midst of consumer uncertainty over the economy,credit unions have become an oasis for safety and soundness.” All1998 data in the article, “CU Share Drafts and Mortgages Climb inSoftening U.S. Economy,” came from Callahan (CU Times, Oct. 211998).

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Small and mid-sized credit unions also saw growth duringeconomic uncertainty in 1998. Among the top 25 credit unions inreal estate growth five were less than $60 million in assets andthree were between $60 million and $100 million in assets.

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Filson attributed the growth in share draft deposits and firstmortgages to members' increased awareness of credit union servicesas a result of bankers' attacks, the increased number of creditunions offering Internet home banking and credit unions'intensified efforts of cross selling services.

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Filson also said that at the time credit unions were increasingtheir marketing efforts to encourage members to use more creditunion services and make the credit union their primary financialinstitution.

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