ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/3/15)--Loan growth at federally insured credit unions climbed last year to the highest level since 2005, according to fourth quarter data released by the National Credit Union Administration Monday.
Memberships, assets, deposits and net worth saw positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, and net interest margins held steady from the first quarters and were slightly higher than the end of 2013.
Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, said the NCUA's information reflects results reported in CUNA's monthly survey of credit union released last month.
"Strong and broad-based loan growth was clearly one of the defining characteristics of credit union operating results in 2014," Schenk said. "Perhaps more impressive is the fact that credit union memberships grew by an astounding 3.1% in the year. That's the biggest one-year percentage increase in memberships in 20 years and represents growth that is more than three times faster than the rate of U.S. population growth.
"Clearly, an increasing number of Americans recognize credit unions as their best financial partner," he said.
Outstanding loan balances grew 10.4% between the end of 2013 and the end of 2014, and total loans reached $712.3 billion.
NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said the loan growth helped credit unions reduce reliance on long-term investments to generate income. Investments declined in all categories except those with maturities of one to three years, which rose by 11.8% from 2013, for a total of $99.7 billion.
Investments with maturities greater than 10 years dropped 21.6% from the end of 2013, to $5.6 billion.