Credit unions continued a trend of broad overall growth in March, according to the CUNA monthly credit union estimates.
Credit union savings were up 1.6% in March compared with February, while loans and assets increased 1%. Memberships rose 500,000 during March to 106.4 million.
“From January to March, growth in these four areas exceeded our forecast for the first quarter,” said CUNA Senior Economist Perc Pineda. “This suggests that the saving and borrowing behavior of credit union members remains healthy and should continue to support strong credit union operations. While economic activity was moderate in the first quarter--based on preliminary estimates--U.S. economic fundamentals are sound.”
Used-auto loans led loan growth, rising 2.4%, followed by new-auto loans and fixed-rate first mortgages, which both increased 1.5%. Home-equity loans and unsecured personal loans both rose 0.2%, and credit card loans inched up 0.02%. Other mortgage loans and adjustable-rate mortgages both declined 0.5% during the month.
“From January to March both fixed- and adjustable-mortgage lending rose 9.4% and 9.6%, in line with macro data of a housing market recovery that has picked up pace,” Pineda said. “Fixed residential investment (housing) in the U.S. rose 14.8% in the first quarter. CUNA economists forecast of credit union operations for 2016 remains upbeat.”
March’s 1.6% savings increase trailed February’s rate of 2.1%. Regular shares led savings growth, rising 3.1%, followed by share drafts (2.5%), money market accounts (1.2%), and individual retirement accounts (0.6%). One-year certificates declined 0.5% during the month.
Credit unions’ 60-plus day delinquency declined to 0.7% in March from 0.8% in February.