The credit union loan portfolio has thrived over the past few years thanks
mainly to impressive growth in real estate and auto loans, but the credit union
industry has run into difficulty growing balances for its highest yielding loan
product: credit cards.
Credit card balances for the nation’s 9,570 credit unions grew just 2%
in 2003, which was actually higher than the 1.5% growth in 2002. Even though
credit union credit card growth was slightly positive, most credit unions, over
58%, had negative growth in credit card balances in 2003.
Although the industry as a whole has had trouble boosting credit card balances,
there are many credit unions experiencing ongoing success, growing balances
at significant levels. Below is a table of the Top 10 credit unions in credit
card balance growth (in dollars) in 2003. These best-in-class performers have
used a variety of ways to get their members to sign up for and use credit cards,
including targeted marketing and relationship-based pricing.