With Credit Unions Size Does Matter

When it comes to choosing a credit union, a metric that is important but underestimated is the total number of members a credit union has. Credit Unions are financial institutions and like banks they are in the business of attracting capital and providing capital, and generating income based on the spread between the two activities. However, one of the key differences between credit unions and banks, is the fact that credit unions are not-for-profit entities. The owners of credit unions are the members. This distinction is important because instead of the profits generated accruing to shareholders as is the case with banks and other financial institutions, with a credit union they accrue to the members. Therefore, because traditional banking business depends heavily on scale, the more members a credit union can attract the greater scale it can achieve which in turn increases its ability to provide attractively priced financial products and services to its base of members. Size matters when it comes to credit unions.

Credit Union Membership Trends Has Signaling Value

We also believe that focusing on the trajectory of a credit union’s membership is important as it indicates positive momentum that should not be ignored. Said another way, if thousands of people are being drawn to an institution, it’s at least worth investigating why they are being drawn to it. Of course as with most things in banking and finance, its important to do thorough due diligence before making any decision.

15 Fastest Growing Credit Unions in America

This list was compiled by looking at credit unions that have existed for at least 3 years and that have achieved sufficient scale (at least 5,000 members) and added more than 3,000 members in 2021. The methodology aimed to not penalize already large credit unions that are growing more slowly on a percentage basis but still added tens of thousands of members. Similarly, the methodology aimed to not overly reward smaller credit unions with very high percentage growth but comparatively smaller numbers of added members. We hoped to intentionally balance absolute growth and percentage growth by doing this. The 15 credit unions collectively added 914,000 members in 2021, which represented 23% growth on average. The chart below shows how these credit unions fared compared to the overall industry.



With all of that said, these were the 15 credit unions that grew the fastest in 2021 in America. They are ranked from highest to lowest growth (adjusted for size).

1. Valley Strong Credit Union

2. GreenState Credit Union

  • Members: 338,048
  • Members Added in 2021: 84,700
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 33%
  • Website: http://greenstate.org
  • GreenState Credit Union has one of the highest net worth per member among this list, making it one of the richest credit unions on the list. You only need to live or work in Iowa (or in nearby counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska or South Dakota) to join.

3. Western Healthcare Federal Credit Union

  • Members: 7,158
  • Members Added in 2021: 4,025
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 128%
  • Website: http://www.whfcu.org

4. Plus4 Credit Union

5. Pentagon Federal Credit Union (Penfed)

  • Members: 2,553,760
  • Members Added in 2021: 396,013
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 18%
  • Website: http://www.penfed.org
  • Easily the most impressive credit union on this list given the fact that they continue to grow their base of members at their size. Penfed is one of the largest credit unions in the United States and is open to anyone.

6. Kinecta

  • Members: 299,565
  • Members Added in 2021: 67,474
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 29%
  • Website: http://www.kinecta.org
  • Kinecta is available to anyone that chooses to join the Innovision Society – the credit union will cover the one-time $10 membership fee for joining the society.

7. Alliant Credit Union

8. L.A. Electrical Workers Credit Union

9. Deere Employees Credit Union

10. Charlotte Metro Credit Union

  • Members: 92,598
  • Members Added in 2021: 29,465
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 47%
  • Website: http://www.cmcu.org

11. Northern Kentucky Federal Credit Union

  • Members: 8,524
  • Members Added in 2021: 3,814
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 81%
  • Website: http://www.nkfcu.org

12. Lafayette Credit Union

  • Members: 45,920
  • Members Added in 2021: 15,921
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 53%
  • Website: http://www.lfcu.org
  • Lafayette Credit Union also has a net worth per member of $4,400 which is more than double the national average for credit unions in the United States.

13. Voyage Federal Credit Union

14. Oregon Community Credit Union

  • Members: 227,973
  • Members Added in 2021: 41,066
  • Membership Growth in 2021: 22%
  • Website: http://www.myoccu.org

15. General Electric Credit Union