MADISON, Wis. (11/3/14)--Credit union membership growth continued to experience healthy gains in September, climbing by 0.5% for the month after posting a similar result in August, according to monthly estimates from the Credit Union National Association.
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The increase pushes credit union memberships nationwide to 101.5 million.
"Credit union memberships continue to grow at an incredibly fast rate," Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, told News Now. "The 0.47% monthly increase (5.6% annualized) was the second-fastest monthly advance in 2014, and the 3.4% year-over-year increase is the fastest seen since 1994.
"By contrast, the U.S. Census Bureau reports the country's population has been growing at a rate of under 1% recently, so memberships have expanded more than 3.5% faster than population growth. Clearly, consumers increasingly recognize credit unions as their best financial partner."
Credit union loans outstanding again advanced in September as well, posting a 0.8% increase after a 1.2% increase the month prior, the monthly survey of credit unions found.
The increase in growth was fueled by both fixed-rate first mortgages and new-auto loans, which posted a 2% and 1.9% climb for the month respectively.
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"The improving economy has members opening their wallets, and they are increasingly comfortable with big-ticket purchases," Schenk said. "September's 0.8% increase in loans (9.4% annualized) is a bit slower than the result we reported in August, but year-over-year loan growth is 10.1%, the fastest annual advance we've seen since 2005."
Schenk added that new-auto loans have risen 19.8% annually, used-auto loans have climbed 12.6% annually, and unsecured personal loans have jumped 11.6% annually.
"Beyond this, the monthly estimates report reflects healthy increases in mortgages, which increased 9.4%, and in credit cards, which increased 7.3% in the last year," Schenk said.
Used-auto loans (1.3%), unsecured personal loans (1.1%), adjustable-rate mortgages (0.9%), home equity loans (0.8%) and credit card loans (0.1%) all posted gains for the month as well.
Only other mortgages recorded a decline in September, at 0.4%.
Loan-to-savings posted another healthy gain in September, climbing by 1.1% to 74.3% after a 1.3% increase from July to August. The liquidity ratio, meanwhile, fell to 15.6% in September from 16.9% the month prior.
The capital-to-asset ratio came in at 10.8% with a total dollar amount of capital at $122 billion, and savings balances decreased 0.7% in September following a 0.8% decrease the month prior.
"CUNA economists expect strong loan growth to continue, fueled by improving labor markets, higher incomes and an abundance of pent-up demand," Schenk said.