Growth For Growth’s Sake Not Good Enough

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TORONTO - Credit unions are still adding members, but many of those members won’t be around for the long-term, according to economists speaking Thursday at NAFCU’s annual convention. Credit unions are expected to add as many as five-million members by the year 2010, but many of those members are being double-counted; others are joining for one product or service, like a car loan; and still others may be courted away by competitors, said David Colby, chief economist for CUNA Mutual Group. The major factors for growing membership: charter expansions, indirect lending and a variety of growth strategies, and being countered by negative factors, like the culling of inactive accounts, the shallowness of indirect loan relationships, and avid competition, said Colby. “We definitely need positive growth, but it’s positive quality growth,” said Colby. “I’d like to see you deepen the relationships before you grow the relationships.”

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