moneyFrom South Florida Business Journal

Florida-based credit unions added 90,000 new members in the first quarter of 2015, a 2 percent growth, blowing past the 5 million mark to reach 5.05 million, according to a report released Wednesday from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates.

Credit unions in the Sunshine State added $2 billion in new assets to reach $51.8 billion in the first quarter, and $542 million in new loans including $85 million in small business loans.

“Credit unions will continue to see solid growth,” said Allan Prindle, president and CEO of Pembroke Pines-based Power Financial Credit Union. “[Credit unions] give consumers another choice. I don’t know how that can be bad for the market. Competition is good. The consumer is the winner overall.”

Florida has the fourth most credit union members in the country, according to the LSCU. The increase in members indicates how businesses and consumers are taking advantage of diverse lending options.

“One of the things about credit unions that is very different than banks is that we are not for-profit organizations. We can’t go out and raise capital,” said Rich Helber, president and CEO of Miramar-based Tropical Financial Credit Union.

That not-for profit model means that credit unions are primarily for-service. And that’s partially what’s driving the increase in members. Individual and corporate members are seeing credit unions as a viable option, whether it’s to obtain a small business loan or begin to plan for a first car loan.

“People know that [we’re for service] and they see what they get,” Helber said. “When they see that, they come back. “