When will the media’s infatuation with credit unions end?

Before September 2008, you would almost never see a story about credit unions anywhere in the news. For decades, the mainstream media essentially ignored this sleepy sector of the financial industry. But these days, the news media is pouring piles of positive press on credit unions at a dizzying pace. And from the looks of it, news outlets won’t stop singing the praises about credit unions anytime soon.

Reporters, eager to report on any ray of sunshine they can find in this dour economy, are frequently touting the safety, strength and stability of credit unions. There is a wide range of points these articles make, but the main themes include:

  • Credit unions are not-for-profit and owned by members (no shareholders)
  • Credit unions typically offer better rates and lower/fewer fees
  • Credit unions have money to lend
  • Credit unions are more willing to look at an individual’s credit situation when making loan decisions
  • Credit unions have insulated themselves from the subprime mess
  • Credit unions often service their own mortgage loans, requiring them to be more prudent in their lending practices
  • Credit unions are local, and not run by Wall Street bankers
  • Credit union deposits are insured through the NCUA up to $250,000
  • Credit unions are well-capitalized compared to their bank peers

If you’re a credit union, these are the things you need to be telling your audience.

Here are some of the headlines and excerpts from mainstream news outlets… in just the last two weeks.

“Bad times for banks means boom times for credit unions.”

Time Magazine

“With banks reeling, depositors turn to credit unions.”

Triangle Business Journal

“Credit unions offer alternative to skittish banks.”

As the banking industry stumbles through the crisis that has gripped the financial world, consumers have a viable alternative to a traditional bank: a credit union.
— Chicago Tribune

“As economy swoons, more people are joining credit unions.”

With all of the troubles taking place in the financial industry these days, one sector that appears to have avoided the mess of subprime and other shaky loans is credit unions.
Bellingham Herald

“The uncertainty surrounding banks is proving to be a blessing for credit unions in the state.”

New Jersey Biz

“Banks’ losses prove to be credit unions’ gains.”

For the most part, area credit unions have sidestepped the worst of the financial upheavals that have taken down some of the largest banks.
— San Diego Business Journal

“As banks tighten credit, credit unions booming.”

The only trouble they have, they say, is getting the word out to more people that they are sitting on money and eager to loan it.
Crain’s Detroit Business

“Credit unions a refuge in dodgy times.”

News Wales

“Credit unions show stability in crisis.”

At a time when banks are staggering under losses from the subprime mortgage meltdown, most credit unions are dodging that bullet.
— Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

“In these rocky financial times, with banks going belly up, more people are turning to credit unions.”

— Fox Atlanta

“Credit unions increase in popularity.”

These days, a bank’s loss could be a credit union’s gain.
— Syracuse 10 News Now

“Credit unions are one division of the financial services industry insulated from recent chaos.”

— Seattle Post Intelligencer

“Credit unions a conservative alternative.”

Maryland Gazette

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