As we head into 2019, there’s good news for credit unions on remaining strong this year. Credit union growth in 2018 was the fastest recorded since 1986, according to the latest industry data presented in the December Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Economic Update. Sponsored by CUNA Financial Council, the update addresses data from NCUA’s third quarter call report.

“Strong labor markets, rising incomes and low energy prices should all help to buoy overall economic results,” said CUNA economist Mike Schenk in this month’s video. But he notes, “we are of course mindful of the challenges represented by rising geopolitical risks, the danger of escalating trade disputes and increasing stock market volatility.”

In total, credit unions now report 117 million memberships—equal to roughly 36% of the U.S. population.

Additional trends this quarter included overall growth in loan portfolios, the continued rise in credit union consolidation, and increased challenges in talent management.

CUNA Economic Update is available monthly and is complimentary to all CUNA members. To watch this month’s video or previous entries, visit