Bethpage Federal Credit Union Thursday cited stronger consumer borrowing in reporting a 38 percent rise in earnings last year from 2011.

The year-end results, in an announcement and a report filed with its regulator, the National Credit Union Administration, included record net income of $57 million, a 13 percent growth in deposits, to $536 million, and a 14 percent increase in total assets, to a record $5.1 billion at year end.

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Assets have doubled in the past five years and Bethpage president and CEO Kirk Kordeleski predicted they would double again in the next five years. A spokeswoman said Bethpage added 33,440 new members in 2012, a 26 percent increase from a year earlier, growing to 212,000 members. Bethpage says it has become the Northeast's largest credit union in assets.

"Lending has also been especially strong this past year, partly because of record low mortgage interest rates," Kordeleski said in the announcement. "We've seen demand in home equity borrowing and refinancing, in auto loans, and in our commercial lending business, illustrating to me that consumer confidence is growing and people are overall, more positive about the economy."

Credit union consultant Alan Theriault of CU Financial Services in Portland, Maine, said Bethpage is among the nation's 200 largest credit unions. They have been able to grow quickly and profitably by virtue of their size, expertise and aggressiveness in capitalizing on the decline in interest rates to sell home refinances at lower rates, he said. "The way these credit unions, this group of larger ones, have been doing so well is in the mortgage business and to some extent being able to make commercial loans as well," he said. There are about 7,000 credit unions in the country.

Another credit union consultant, principal Michael Hudson of Credit Union Strategy in Rehoboth Beach, Del., says many smaller credit unions also have been successful, as has Bethpage, in luring new customers disaffected with banks since the 2008 financial crisis. "It's not just a size-related thing but much more the ability they had to capture that momentum of the consumer wanting to make a change," he said.

Bethpage said it made $1.9 billion in new loans last year, a 30 percent increase over 2011, including mortgages, consumer loans and business and commercial real estate loans. Kordeleski said Bethpage plans to add nine to 12 branches over the next three years to the 26 now operating in Nassau and Suffolk.