CUs picking up bank slack: CNBC

February 19, 2015

NEW YORK (2/20/15)--Credit unions appear to be stepping up in the consumer lending market--where banks have lacked in recent months--according to two separate reports from

Allen Wastler, managing editor, says credit unions are surging in the consumer lending market. ( Photo)

On's "Hot List" Wednesday, Allen Wastler, managing editor, said credit unions have surged in the marketplace recently by posting their best year of lending since 2005 last year.

"Everybody's interested in who has the money right now; it turns out (it's) credit unions," Wastler said. "They're sort of filling in the gap that banks aren't filling in right now in the lending market."

Added Wastler: "(Credit unions are) up to about $720 billion worth of lending, mostly mortgages and car loans, which makes sense since banks are doing mostly industrial and commercial loans."

Officially, credit union loans outstanding climbed 10.2% in 2014, the fastest pace seen since 2005 when loans outstanding jumped 10.7%, according to CUNA's monthly credit union estimates.

Memberships also rose at a rapid pace, climbing 3.6% over the 12-month stretch, the fastest membership expansion since 1994.

In a second report Wednesday, Jeff Cox, finance editor, corroborated that credit unions appear to picking up bank slack, especially in the consumer market. 

"(Banks) are lending money to businesses at a pretty good pace, but as far as consumers go ... organizations like credit unions are able to step into the void," Cox said. "It's going to be very interesting watching this trend develop through the year."