Heads of States - How Do the Top CUs Compare?

How does the performance of the largest credit union by asset size in each state compare to the industry?


How does the performance of the largest credit union by asset size in each state compare to the industry? Does this group of 51 credit unions (including Washington, D.C.) enjoy an economy of scale advantage over its peers, or are both groups reporting similar trends? To view a list of the top credit union in each state by asset size, please click here.

After comparing key ratios for both groups, the top 51 credit unions are outperforming their peers in various components on the balance sheet, but are increasing their marketing budget at nearly twice the rate as the rest of the industry.

The Largest Credit Union in Each State as compared to Industry Averages
as of June 30, 2006






12-Mo. Mkting



Avg. Assets

Share Growth

Loan Growth

Mem Growth

Expense Growth









51 CUs







Industry Avg.







Source: Peer-to-Peer Software

What does it take to be the largest credit union in each state? There is a significant asset range based on the state. For example, the largest credit union in Wyoming is Warren Federal Credit Union with $183 million in assets, while Keesler Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in Mississippi with $1.4 billion in assets. And yes, Navy Federal Credit Union in Virginia still retains the number one position in the industry with $25.6 billion in assets. In fact, the largest credit unions reported having over $1 billion in assets in 33 of the 51 locations as of June 30, 2006.

Impact of Charter Choice and Membership for the Top 51
Do the charter type and/or the field of membership affect the ranking? While there are similar trends for both groups, there are a few interesting figures to highlight. The charter type does not appear to have much influence as 21 credit unions are state-chartered while the remaining 30 are federally-chartered.

However, the type of field of membership does seem to influence key growth rates. Of the 51 credit unions, 18 list their field of membership as primarily serving a community. The other credit unions may serve minor community segments but do not consider those to be their primary field of membership. Membership growth on a 12-month basis was 5.1% for community-chartered credit unions versus 3.1% for SEG-based credit unions. So it does translate that the community charter has helped credit unions expand their membership at a faster pace than SEG-based institutions.

These community-chartered credit unions also reported a higher 12-month share growth rate (7.3% vs. 5.7%) and a higher 12-month loan growth rate (13.6% vs. 11.3%). Surprisingly, the 12-month marketing expense growth rate was comparable (23.9% vs. 24.4%). SEG-based credit unions actually increased their marketing budget at a slightly faster pace than community-based credit unions, but reported lower 12-month growth rates for members, shares, and loans. This very high marketing growth rate reflects credit unions trying to increase their visibility in today’s slow growth environment.

The largest credit union in each state does appear to enjoy an economy of scale advantage over the rest of the industry, as it can generate more revenue from its expense base. The 51 credit unions had an average efficiency ratio of 65.3% compared to 74.3% for the credit union industry as of June 30, 2006 (lower is better). The lower efficiency ratio indicates that credit unions spend less money on expenses to generate the same amount of revenue.

To learn more about the state of the credit union industry, pre-order the 2007 Credit Union Directory.




Oct. 30, 2006


  • So far my perception has been that community charters have not been a stimulator of growth on a wide basis. Your data shows that for the very largest credit unions, the community charter is correlated with higher member growth--it would be interesting to compare growth rates over time per institution to see if there are learning effects when a credit union opens its charter.