The stock market is volatile, and members are nervous. It's a time when the stability of credit unions is crucial.
Last week, the stock market looked like an intimidating rollercoaster. The ups and downs were hard to watch and even harder to navigate. But it’s not all bad. Retail spending rose at the sharpest level in four months. Couple that with the modest job growth, and there’s reason to be optimistic.
And credit unions are fueling that optimism. Member growth and loan growth are up year-over-year, as is asset quality. Credit unions can continue to drive local economies out of the doldrums with strong lending strategies and an eye toward what benefits the member. One New Jersey credit union has been able to generate loan growth and maximize the quality of member service. That’s an excellent example of a credit union doing its part to fuel tangible, local growth.
Credit unions are in an enviable position. Because of member loyalty and the cooperative structure, they can withstand significant economic upheaval and maintain a commitment to lending. Cooperatives are built for stress, and the recession is a perfect example of that. During the difficult times, credit unions are lending as the rest of the financial services industry contracts.
Now is the time for action. The stock market is scaring people. Unemployment is still an issue. Now is the time for credit unions to step up. Through extending loans and helping members save money, credit unions can fuel the journey out of this latest tough period. We’ve done it before, and I’m betting on us to do it again.