The article described five corporate credit unions which reported $5.7 billion in "unrealized" losses as of the end of May. It also describes how there is an effort to reclassify the losses and downplay their importance.
Individual credit union members appear to be mostly insulated from these problems. Regular credit unions that have deposited money with the corporate credit unions could see losses if the corporates fail. According to the article the last time a corporate credit union failed was in 1995, and the regular credit unions were eventually able recover their money.
The article mentions that 9 regular credit unions have failed this year. However, many of these failures have been tiny credit unions. The last one that failed was Port Trust FCU which had assets of only $461,000 (see NCUA press release).
The major regular credit unions seem to be healthy based on their recent financial ratings. Here are a few of the largest credit unions in the US (source) and their ratings based on 3/31/08 data:
- Navy FCU - 5 stars at BauerFinancial, 3 stars at Bankrate.com
- Pentagon FCU - 5 stars at BauerFinancial, 4 stars at Bankrate.com
- Alliant CU - 5 stars at BauerFinancial, 3 stars at Bankrate.com
- The Golden 1 CU - 5 stars at BauerFinancial, 4 stars at Bankrate.com
Thanks to the reader who mentioned this WSJ article in the finding the best deals post.