Georgia Credit Unions Reaching More People, Lending More Money

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, July 20th, 2018

As more Georgia consumers take advantage of the service-driven culture of credit unions, credit unions are experiencing significant and consistent loan growth.

“Being member-owned, credit unions don’t have shareholders to pay. Members benefit directly and personally from their relationships with their credit unions,” said Mike Mercer, President/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, the state trade association for Georgia’s credit unions. “Credit union loan growth illustrates the positive impact credit unions continue to have in stimulating the economy and helping people afford life.”

Credit unions have outpaced banks in loan growth in each of the last 12 years. When the financial crisis of 2008 hit banks hard - and the rate of bank lending decreased by double digits the following year – loans were up by almost 7 percent at credit unions.

In 2017, the 8.8 percent increase in loans at credit unions was more than eight times the rate of loan growth reported at Georgia banks.

“Georgia credit unions are proud to serve more than two million members,” said Terry Hardy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Credit Union League and President/CEO of MembersFirst Credit Union, citing the 2,121,518 memberships at the end of 2017 that represented more than 20 percent of the state’s population. “We’ve been lending to consumers in Georgia for more than 100 years.”

Making credit available to consumers at affordable rates is important to local economies, and Georgia credit unions have been doing their part consistently. Since credit unions are financial cooperatives, benefits are delivered back to members in the form of better rates and lower fees.

“The more people know about credit unions, the more they gravitate to them,” noted Mercer. “There just isn’t another kind of financial institution designed to serve consumers the way credit unions are. They have always been singularly focused on how they can best serve their members. That includes connecting people with loans that help them afford the life they’re working to achieve.”