In the midst of an overcrowded financial services marketplace, credit unions have an important competitive advantage: their strong community focus means that they can develop more intimate relationships with their customers and establish roots among specific groups of people.

This may explain why credit unions have fared better than banks following the recession. In 2012, credit union membership rose by over 2 million, according to the National Credit Union Association. Meanwhile, market research firm J.D. Power and Associates said that the rate of customer defection from a primary bank to another financial institution, such as a credit union, has been increasing every year. In 2012, banks lost customers at a rate of 9.6%, up from 8.7% in 2011 and 7.7% in 2010. 

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