Credit Union Assets and Members Rising So Why Aren't Jobs?

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Credit union membership and assets are on the rise, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the industry’s trade association. Whether it’s a response to rising bank fees or the banking crisis, credit unions are surely benefiting from the mutiny of traditional banking customers. Job creation among credit unions however has not been as robust.

Mark Wolff, spokesman for CUNA, says that credit unions saw a significant boost in membership after the Facebook campaign and Bank Transfer Day on November 5th. But Diana Wozniak, the vice chair of the CUNA HR Council, a networking group CUNA manages for credit union HR professionals, says the rise in membership and assets doesn’t necessarily translate to additional jobs at credit unions.

Of the jobs that are being created, she says that most are truly entry-level, like the post of collector. “There is hiring, but not at the management level. In my opinion, that’s not likely to change for a while, but ultimately it will turn around. The Fed is keeping rates low, which is good.” The turnaround, she says, will be dependent on sales people, and so she projects that hiring will start to pickup for credit union sales managers.

Wozniak is also the human resource manager for the Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union. Blame credit union consolidation and a drop in lending, she says. “Like other financial institutions, our industry has been consolidating in terms of the number of individual credit unions.” And Wozniak adds, “In this weak economy, credit unions, like banks, have experienced a decline in loan demand as more people used their money to pay down existing debt rather than borrow.”

While credit union salaries in management aren’t usually comparable to their banking competitors, working for one just might be a safer bet in the long-term. According to Wolff, credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, more conservatively managed and faring better than banks did during the recession. “They don’t issue stock and have no outside investors, so their management doesn’t have the incentive banks do to take larger risks in hopes of pushing up the stock price.”

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