Call them chief financial officers. Or senior vice presidents of finance. Or just the head bean counters. These are people who perhaps best understand and rely on benchmarks to gauge the performance of their credit unions relative to the industry.

But they're not the only ones who can glean valuable information from these metrics. Marketers, lenders, the rest of the C-suite and every other stakeholder in the back office can learn much from these measures about how the credit union movement is doing on the balance sheet and beyond.

Some of the easiest metrics for non-accountants to grasp are those that have been capturing industry headlines: Record lending levels and asset growth, for instance. But continuing tight margins from sustained low interest rates and slowly rising operating expenses make some other benchmarks worth watching.

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