As our nation’s economy struggles to gain momentum, many of America’s credit unions continue to feel the ripple effects from the recent financial crisis. Looking beyond today’s challenges, however, the credit union industry seems poised for a new era of growth. By offering new products and exploring new approaches, credit unions can simultaneously improve services for members, enhance consumers’ satisfaction, appeal to a wider universe of potential members and increase the lending that helps strengthen America’s economy.

We must remain vigilant, of course, about the financial concerns afflicting the credit union system. Delinquencies and loan losses will likely continue to increase in 2010, and credit union failures will probably rise again. The number of credit unions downgraded to CAMEL 4 and 5 almost doubled during the recession-and those credit unions hold more than 5% of all insured shares. Many of the 7,600 federally insured credit unions, while still adequately capitalized, will record negative earnings and thus drain their capital.

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Peter Westerman

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Credit Union Times

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