MADISON, Wis. (6/22/15)--State credit union leagues in Georgia, Iowa and Maine reported last week their credit unions saw strong financial results during first quarter 2015. Each state pointed out that an increased confidence in the economy meant more consumers were choosing credit unions as their financial partner.
Maine’s 60 credit unions gained 4,000 new members during the quarter, bringing membership to a record high at 655,716. Compared with a year ago, they have added more than 15,000 members, said the Maine Credit Union League. The credit unions’ assets increased $137 million, to $6.57 billion, over March 2014. Outstanding loans were up a “healthy” 6.4%, “despite a harsh winter significantly impacting lending,” a growth of $10 million to $4.4 billion. Shares grew by $158.8 million or 3% to $5.6 billion collectively as a system.
"Maine credit unions continue to attract consumers looking for a better option for financial services,” said Maine league President John Murphy, adding that “the statistics reflect solid, across the board growth, indicating that the popularity of credit unions in Maine continues to grow stronger.”
Iowa’s 106 credit unions posted exceptional performance in loan and share growth during first quarter, said the Iowa Credit Union League. “Iowa’s consumers are choosing to do business at credit unions more so than ever before,” said league President Patrick S. Jury. The figures indicate “an increased confidence in both the economy and their local, member-owned credit unions.”
Iowa credit unions’ first quarter loan growth of 12.6% resulted in $1.4 billion in loan originations, up 38.8% from first quarter 2014 and bringing loan volume to $9.3 billion. Shares grew 6.9% or $730.3 million, to $11.3 billion in total shares. Loan and share growth is “faster than the growth rates posted by Iowa commercial banks, national banks, and credit unions nationwide for the same period,” said the league. First-mortgage delinquencies dropped to 0.43%--nine basis points lower than a year ago and lower than credit unions’ national rate of 0.70%.
Iowa’s credit unions originated $904.2 million in consumer loans for the quarter, for “a remarkable 70.8% increase from a year ago,” the league said. Mortgage originations topped $288.8 million, up 20.3% from first quarter 2014. Unsecured personal loans rose 9.7%, credit cards increased 8.9%, and other real estate originations posted a year-over-year decline of 1.2%. Membership grew by 2.6% to more than 1 million members first quarter, with more than 26,000 new members added the past year. Average total loan balances and deposits per member were up 6.2% to $18,663, more than $2,000 higher than the national average.
In Georgia’s 133 credit unions, consumer borrowing rose 1.8% for the quarter, although the rate of increase has slowed from fourth quarter 2014, said the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA).
Vehicle lending was the state’s top performer, with new-auto loans up 7.2% from fourth quarter 2014 and used-auto loans up 2.7%. The league noted that the rate for a $20,000, four-year, used-vehicle loan at credit unions averaged 1.3% lower than at Georgia banks, with members saving more than $500 over the loan’s term. Small business and first-mortgage loans rose 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.
“Despite the indication that automobile lending has somewhat slowed from the last quarter of 2014, credit unions are guardedly optimistic about the economy,” said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO.
Georgians paid down debt during first quarter, typical for after the holiday season and credit card balances fell 5.2% from fourth quarter 2014, said the league. Other secured loans dropped 3.6%; second-mortgage loans decreased 2.1%; and borrower bankruptcy filings fell more than 10%.
Checking balances at Georgia’s credit unions grew 8.1%, compared with fourth quarter 2014, a sign of economic stability, said GCUA. Total regular savings balances rose 3.8% during the quarter, for a 6.1% year-over-year gain. Money market accounts increased 2.7%.