Top Credit Unions by Assets Also Top Performers

Top Credit Unions by Assets Also Top Performers

On November 24, 1908, the first credit union opened its doors in Manchester New Hampshire. The brainchild  of a local pastor of Sainte-Marie’s parish, St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union (as it is known today) was a way to help local mill workers to save and borrow money. For a $5 investment (the price of one share of capital stock) anyone in the community could join.

That $5 initial investment may be the only thing that hasn’t changed in the 106 years since. Today, ****St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union boasts $772 million in assets, 87,000 members and 200 employees. In addition to attractive rates and low fees, it  offers a wide range of banking and financial services. It is one of many success stories in the credit union industry; but it is far from the only one.

Page 7 this week lists the top 50 U.S. credit unions by asset size. As of December 31, 2013, assets at these 50 institutions totaled $319 billion or 30% of total  industry assets. Most are also very well-rated by BauerFinancial (5-Stars or 4-Stars). Credit unions, unlike banks, seem to fare better as they get larger. But then, the largest credit unions are no where near the size of the $ trillion banks. In fact, even with industry assets growing by $40 billion in 2013, there are only 426 credit unions with total assets in excess of $500 million.

At just 6.5% of the total number of credit unions, these institutions hold 67% of all industry assets. They are also the most profitable with a 0.93% return on average assets and they have more growth in membership, loans and net worth than smaller credit unions.

The charts on page 2 detail how different asset segments fared with year-end 2013 financial data.