Membership Growth Comes At A Price, New Study By MRI Shows

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SAN ANSELMO, Calif.-Credit unions are spending approximately $150 per new-account acquisition, according to one new study, which found CUs increased their membership base as well as their deposits volume during the 12 months ending March 2011.

Total membership in U.S. credit unions increased from 90.2 million to 91.0 million-an increase of 725,531 new members at an average operating cost of $149 per new-member acquisition, according to a recent study by Market Rates Insight (MRI). The research firm also found that the average membership per credit union increased from 12,035 to 12,475.

"The incremental increase in the average membership per credit union occurred despite a decrease in the total number of credit unions from 7,498 to 7,292-a decrease of 206 institutions," noted MRI. "The absolute increase in the average number of members per credit union was 439. The average same-store increase, which excludes mergers and acquisitions, in the number of members was 97 new members per credit union."

MRI further reported that deposits at credit unions increased from $773 billion to $812 billion in the 12 months ending in March 2011-an increase of $39 billion.

The average deposits per member increased from $8,568 to $8,923 over the same time period-an increase of $355 per member.

The greatest increases in deposits occurred in regular share accounts, which increased by $23 billion, followed by Money Market Accounts (up $15 billion) and share drafts (up $10 billion).

The greatest decrease occurred in share certificates (CDs), which decreased by $12 during the 12 months ending March 2011.

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