While credit unions have seen some hits in their investment programs, some have reported steady growth over the past three years.According to the Callahan/SCS 2009 Retail Investment Services Benchmarking Study for Credit Unions, representatives that serve members grew from 1,902 in 2005 to 3,051 by the end of 2008. The aggregate value of member investment accounts also grew from $38.9 billion to $40.1 billion between 2005 and 2008. Still, the number of credit unions that provide members with face-to-face retail investment services grew by only 3.64%, from 938 to 968 between 2005 and 2008. The peak of account value growth during this reporting period was $50.4 billion by year-end 2007. However, with the market downturn in 2008 the aggregate account values dropped to $40.1 billion last year.“The global data strongly suggest that the credit union retail investment services channel is well-positioned to sustain itself through this economic downturn,” said Pete Snyder, principal and founder of Snyder Consulting Solutions, who helped to cull the study’s data. “Further, that when the recovery kicks in, credit union programs are very likely to emerge with strong growth in all institutional metric areas.”Meanwhile, aggregate account growth reached its peak during year-end 2007 at 1,320,011 from a total of 1,265,803 in 2005, according to the study. By year-end 2007 the number of accounts dropped to 1,169,001.The reduction came from members either liquidating the funds in one or more of their accounts to live on or rebalancing their portfolios, which included some account consolidation. Brokerage firms have also experienced a decrease in activity, potentially opening up relationship opportunities for credit unions.“This is good news for the credit union channel as other brokerage firms have actually experienced a reduction in their account relationships from their customers moving their accounts to another firm,” Snyder said.The aggregate number of accounts grew from 1,169,001 in 2007 to 1,273,567 by year-end 2008 during a significant market downturn, Snyder said, adding this suggests that credit union investment services programs have proactively responded. The two primary drivers around this account growth occurred between 2006 and 2008 when credit unions grew their representative sales force from 1,964 to 3,051 (a 55.4% increase). This new expanded sales force was able to open new accounts with new members that had not been previously served, Snyder noted.“Based on feedback received from the participating broker dealers, credit union programs have been increasingly successful in benefiting from having members transfer their investment accounts from other firms over to the credit union,” Snyder said.–[email protected]

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