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The Past, the Present, and the Future
Friday, December 18, 2015 6:30 AM

By Vicky Salkeld, Vice President of Sales, Credit Union Resources

As I reflect back over the last 32 years of working for the Arkansas Credit Union League, the first word that comes to mind is change. In 1983, we had 154 credit unions in Arkansas. Nationally, more than 20,000 credit unions served 45 million members.

Over the last 32 years, the number of credit unions has decreased significantly. Credit unions have consolidated through mergers so that there are currently 60 credit unions in Arkansas. Nationally, the number of credit unions has shrunk to approximately 6,200 while membership has more than doubled to over 102 million. Assets have continually grown, enabling credit unions to become more complex and to better serve their members.

Credit unions have automated their processes as technology has become commonplace. Types of loans and share accounts have been expanded, giving our members access to almost every financial product or service imaginable. Computers, internet, and mobile technology have brought about some of the most significant changes and new opportunities in credit union operations and service offerings.  We could not have imagined 32 years ago the technology that would be driving credit union operations and members’ lives today.

As we look to the future of credit unions, what do we see? The Filene Research Institute’s recently released white paper, “Trending: Credit Unions in 2025,” gives readers a peek at what the credit union landscape is forecasted to look like in 10 short years. A copy of the report is available for download at It is extremely thought-provoking and worth the read.

As you think about the future, start with these questions:

  • Will your credit union still exist? Why or why not?
  • What will consumers expect (or demand) from their financial institutions?
  • What new technology is around the corner that we can’t even imagine today?
  • What are you doing today to have a better tomorrow?

Think about it. Your future depends on it.