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Local Credit Unions Report Asset Growth Slows

Orange County’s credit unions this year reported assets climbed at their slowest rate in the past four years.

The 16 credit unions on the Business Journal’s annual list reported a 4.2% increase to $42.7 billion for the year ended June 30. That compares to a 7.4% increase in 2022, 16% growth in 2021 and 26% in 2020.

Credit union executives attribute the growth in prior years to the pandemic when the government gave money to consumers who were unable to spend it.

For the second straight year, the biggest grower was Anaheim’s No. 3 Credit Union of Southern California, which climbed 24% to $3 billion, on top of 10% growth last year.

It completed three acquisitions in 2023, including California Bear Credit Union in February and Printing Industries Credit Union on May 1. It also acquired PacTrans Federal Credit Union on Sept. 1, although that acquisition is not factored into this list.

“Each merger is an opportunity to give more to our members,” Chief Executive Dave Gunderson said in a statement. “They provide more branches to visit, enhanced online and mobile banking technology, access to an expansive ATM network, and access to competitive rates on deposit and credit products.”

SchoolsFirst

No. 1 SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union of Tustin had the biggest increase in dollar terms with a $600 million boost to $28.7 billion, a 2.3% increase.

While the percentage growth is lower than in years past, membership growth of 4.1% was the highest ever organically, according to Chief Executive Bill Cheney.

“I would characterize the year as positive overall,” Cheney told the Business Journal. “We’ve had strong membership growth.”

The credit union, which has 72 branches statewide, is considering opening more because customers often want to come into them, Cheney said.

SchoolsFirst is also improving its applications, such as mortgage applications and permitting members to book appointments online.

“It sounds simple, but it allows our members to go online and meet with one of our representatives from anywhere,” Cheney said. “In the past, you had to go to a branch and make an appointment. This allows you to plan ahead. That’s a real convenience factor.”

Assets, Employment

No. 4 Orange County’s Credit Union grew 3.7% to $2.5 billion. In August, it hired a new CEO, Kathy Jumper (see story, page 20).

Seven credit unions reported a decline in assets, with the biggest being Fountain Valley Credit Union, which fell 17% to $2.5 million.

The credit unions reported net income declined 9.4% to $130.3 million for the first half ended June 30; a year ago, net income had increased 20%.

Employment at credit unions was up 5.9% to 3,059. The firms reported OC memberships increased 2.8% to 813,684.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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