Credit union growth is on the rise, and the US west coast is leading the charge. Factors such as a strong economy and a healthy environment for aspiring entrepreneurs were heavy contributors to this in 2017, and all signs are pointing toward a continuing trend in the year ahead.
Numbers continue to rise in all areas of credit union growth. Throughout 2017 in Oregon and Washington states, loan rates grew by 10.9 and 9.4%, respectively. Both rates finished as the first- and second-highest of all credit unions in the country, according to the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).
What's more, with a strong national economy and job market continuing into 2018, the NCUA predicts increased borrowing and relatively low credit risk. This means we can also expect to see credit union growth continue to increase alongside those numbers.
Numbers certainly point to evidence of that trend. The Credit Union Times reports that approximately 2.5 million new members joined credit unions in 2017. In Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, total credit union membership grew by 5.4% during that stretch.
All this growth is good news for entrepreneurs. It enables credit unions to continue being a strong source of financing for businesses throughout the country. In particular, the west coast is a great place to be in this category: based on assets and membership, the NCUA states that half of the top 10 credit unions in the country are based in this region, with BECU at No. 1.
Growth in Washington is also a big driver for business owners to make the switch from big banks. Because credit unions are locally based in the communities which other business owners operate, the two parties can form a bond based on a relationship, not just a series of transactions. As a result, credit unions are commonly becoming the primary financial institution and source to secure funding for businesses.
Are you an entrepreneur thinking about taking your business banking to a credit union? To learn more about business banking with BECU, visit becu.org/business.