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March 21, 2018

Maine credit union membership nears 700,000, lending up 7% in 2017

Photo / Jim Neuger Todd Mason, president and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League, reports lending by Maine's 56 credit unions increase nearly 7% in 2017.

Lending at Maine’s 56 credit unions grew by $355 million to $5.5 billion in 2017, an increase of nearly 7% over 2016, according to a year-end tally released by the Maine Credit Union League on Tuesday. Combined assets grew by more than $265 million to $7.55 billion.

Maine’s credit unions also continue to attract more members, seeing nearly 3% average membership growth last year. Total membership was reported at 686,267.

More than half of Maine’s population, 53%, belong to a credit union, making Maine the country’s fifth strongest in terms of membership per capita.

The average member relationship increased by nearly 5% over the past year, and the penetration of Maine’s credit unions in real estate lending jumped to 18.3%, the highest in the nation by double the next closest state. Savings at credit unions increased by close to $190 million during the year and now total $6.4 billion.

“The year-end statistics are indicative of what we are hearing from our credit unions across Maine — strong lending and robust membership growth,” Todd Mason, president of the Maine Credit Union League, said in a statement.

He added: “We are pleased that existing credit union members continue to increase their relationship with their local credit union, including strong growth in mortgages, auto lending and other loan products, and that more Maine consumers continue to become credit union league members.”

He said it’s also gratifying to see more millennials turning to credit unions for financial services, pointing to a 10% growth in credit union membership among 18- to 25-year olds over the past three years.

In an interview with Mainebiz last November, Mason said that credit union membership is growing all over the state, particularly in population centers like Portland, as well as from the youth market.

The Maine Credit Union League, which is headquartered in Westbrook, was founded in 1938. The upcoming April 2 print edition of Mainebiz, with a focus on banks and financial services, will include a list of Maine-based credit unions and an On the Record interview with the head of a Portland-based credit union.

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