MADISON, Wis. — Based on historic seasonal trends coupled with return on asset declines, the industry should expect to see a slowdown in membership growth for the rest of the year.

According to CUNA Mutual Group's latest Credit Union Trends Report, total membership was estimated to be 90.8 million at the end of the August. Credit unions continued to report strong gains with a 1.4 million member year-to-date increase, which is 344,000 above figures for all of 2007, the data showed.

CUNA Mutual said credit union expense resources for expanding membership are limited around this time of the year and that it expects efforts to focus more on expense savings through purging low balance membership rolls rather than on adding select employer groups. Next year's gains are expected to be "highly dependent" on deposit pricing and its ability to deliver "reasonably priced" access to credit, according to the report.

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