A Callahan & Associates Webinar reporting on credit unions’ third quarter performance has drawn attention to how credit unions have stepped in to help consumers meet their credit needs as banks have retreated from the market.

Trendwatch 3Q 2009 was a complimentary Web event that the credit union consultancy sponsored on Dec. 2. During the event Callahan reported that credit union’s card loans and unused credit lines grew to $108 billion as the FDIC reported that bank credit lines shrank by $1 trillion.

To illustrate the opportunity credit cards programs are providing credit unions, Kevin Marvel, marketing director from APL Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Laurel, Md., participated in the Webinar, sharing his organization’s success story with a basic credit card product. By offering a simple card, with no fees attached and the same, low interest rate of 7.5% to everyone, APL FCU saw its card program grow by three times-both in new accounts opened and outstanding balances. And Marvel used the Credit Card Act as a communication opportunity to show members why ALP’s card was better, Callahan reported.

“We took advantage of consumers’ anger with other card providers,” said Marvel. “We provided a no-frills approach, and educated members on the new Card Act, clearly explaining the implications and how they would not impact a credit card from ALP.”