This paper was published as a Faculty Working Paper (no. 202) for the Lubin School of Business, Center for Applied Research, July 2001.

Document Type



The economy of the United States has recorded phenomenal performances in every segment of the nation over the last decade. The longest expansion in economic history, dating from March of 1991, is continuing as we enter the 21st century. The financial services industry has been in the forefront of dynamic change and expanding diversity of activities, institutions, and instruments during this period. The era of deregulation, which began in the 1980s, continued in the 1990s, culminating with the repeal of the Glass-Steagell Act in the year 2000.

This paper is an empirical analysis of the ways in which the credit union industry has both participated in the deregulation environment and also faced some of the strongest head winds to its historical growth performance in the approximately two-year battle over fields of membership expansion. With the passage of HR 1151 in 1998, the industry has been able to resume its record of growth in assets, loan and investment offerings, and membership. Consolidation of financial institutions of all kinds continues. By the end of the year 2000, approximately 10,000 credit unions were operating in the U.S., compared with a peak of over 23,000 in the 1970s.