student debt Student loans are the fastest-rising form of consumer debt in the U.S. and likely will remain that way for years to come. A new white paper from the Filene Research Institute wants to help credit unions grab a greater slice of what has become a $1.2 trillion pie.

In a market overwhelmingly dominated by government-guaranteed loans, private student loans offered by banks and credit unions comprise just 8% of market share, with six banks capturing the majority of the private loan market, according to study author Matthew Lieber, a political science instructor at Madison College in Madison, Wis.

Only one in 10 credit unions held any student loans in 2013, totaling $2.6 billion across 643 institutions, Lieber wrote in “Helping Members Navigate College Costs,” released on May 4.  Altogether, credit unions accounted for just 3% of the $92.6 billion in total private student loans outstanding and 0.2% of all U.S. student loans, the study said.

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