November 06, 2017

NAFCU Fed Report reveals new CU industry trends

The 2017 NAFCU Report on Credit Unions is now available online. The report shows, among other things, that credit unions are expanding their offerings for members despite increasing regulatory burdens and the industry continues to strengthen in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

"Our 2017 NAFCU Report on Credit Unions reveals that even in the face of regulatory challenges and financial pressures, credit unions continue to provide exceptional service to nearly 110 million members across the country and stimulate the national economy with more than $16 billion annually in benefits," said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger.

The report reiterates that preserving the credit union tax exemption remains NAFCU's top legislative priority because of the economic benefits credit unions provide. The association is actively engaged with lawmakers this week to ensure it is untouched in the tax reform bill being marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The 2017 NAFCU Report on Credit Unions looks at five key areas: credit union trends, credit unions' service to their members and use of Federal Reserve services, legislative issues facing credit unions, regulatory issues facing credit unions, and emerging challenges facing credit unions.

Some of the highlights in the 2017 report include the following:

  • Overall industry growth is strong, despite the fact that not-for-profit credit unions are small, highly regulated and typically operate with much smaller margins than their for-profit counterparts.
  • Investing in technology is a priority for credit unions, as evidenced by the growth in the number of institutions offering remote deposit capture, mobile payments and other electronic services.
  • Modernized field of membership rules, including a strong federal charter and the ability to serve underserved areas, are crucial to the future welfare of the credit union industry.
  • Regulatory burden continues to be a drag on credit unions, while non-traditional financial service providers that are directly competing with credit unions are largely unencumbered by existing rules.
  • Continued outreach to millennials and young adults is key to credit union strategic growth.

In addition, the report highlights the basic tenets of a healthy and appropriate regulatory environment that are necessary for credit unions to thrive for which NAFCU is advocating: a regulatory framework that allows credit unions to grow; tailored regulation and relief from growing regulatory burdens; a fair playing field; transparency and independent oversight; and an independent NCUA as the primary regulator for credit unions.

The information gathered in the 2017 NAFCU Report on Credit Unions is based on the association's Federal Reserve Meeting Survey, an annual assessment of NAFCU members covering topics discussed in the report. The report also draws on data collected for NAFCU's Economic & CU Monitor, CU Industry Trends Report and the association's updated 2017 study, "Economic Benefits of the Credit Union Tax Exemption to Consumers, Businesses and the U.S. Economy."