CUNA Senior Economist Mike Schenk highlighted that credit unions continued to serve their members and communities even as banks pulled back.

Reality Check was the aptly chosen name for the New Jersey Credit Union League’s one and one-half day Atlantic City conference. Over the densely packed schedule of deep-dive presentations on topics of current interest to credit union executives, the several hundred attendees heard over and over two stark realities: opportunities are plentiful for credit unions but so are pitfalls and problems. Call this the best of times for credit unions as the public and the media beat up on the big banks. But it is also a trying time as smaller credit unions vanish, corporate credit unions struggle to attain lasting solvency, and all credit unions labor, often with slender results, to win more mindshare of the public at large and more wallet share of members.

For starters, here’s a number a speaker threw out: within 10 years, today’s 7,600 credit unions will shrink to 5,300. Many factors are behind this consolidation. Scale matters in financial services and credit unions are not exempt, but that shrinking number also underlies the problems credit unions face.

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