Georgia CUs report 30% growth in auto loans

September 17, 2015

DULUTH, Ga. (9/17/15)--A 30% year-over-year hike in new-auto loans steered overall loan growth among Georgia credit unions during second quarter, the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) announced Wednesday.

Total lending in Georgia’s credit unions increased 3.4% since first quarter and rose 12.2% year over year.

“Economic conditions have been on a steady incline for several years, and it’s not surprising consumers are becoming more confident with their spending habits,” said GCUA President/CEO Mike Mercer. He noted the growth is “evidence that consumers are doing better and that credit unions provide meaningful value in supporting their activities.”

The data drummed up a slew of media coverage for the GCUA, with the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Yahoo! Finance, and MarketWatch also reporting the numbers.

Consumers are more comfortable buying big-ticket items, especially autos, said GCUA. New-vehicle loans in Georgia credit unions grew 5.3% in second quarter from first quarter and 30% from second quarter 2014. Used-auto loans grew 4.2% from first quarter and 16% from the same period in 2014.

Since first quarter, first mortgages rose 2.8%, other unsecured loans increased 2.2% and credit card balances grew 1.8%, said GCUA.

Positive economic conditions in the state--declining unemployment rates, declining fuel prices, increases in housing prices and fewer bankruptcies--contributed to the increases, said GCUA. Bankruptcy filings for borrowers at Georgia credit unions in second quarter totaled 2,086, a 0.33% decline from a year ago.

The state’s credit unions continued offering lower rates than Georgia banks in home equity lines of credit, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, credit card standard and gold programs, and new- and used-auto loans, according to data compiled by Informa Research Services. A five-year $30,000 loan for a new auto at credit unions saved the average Georgia consumer more than $500.

Consumers’ increased spending was reflected in total savings at Georgia’s credit unions. Total savings fell 0.5% over first quarter but was up 3.4% from the same period a year ago. Although checking account balances dipped 1.9%, regular savings and money-market accounts gained 0.1% and 0.8%, respectively.

Membership in Georgia’s credit unions totaled 2.1 million by the end of second quarter, reflecting a 1% growth for that quarter and 2.1% in the first six months of 2015, said GCUA.

The credit union information is based on data from the state’s credit unions and CUNA’s data from the National Credit Union Administration and is compared to state banks’ data by Informa Research Services.