Although declining credit availability at the largest lenders continues to make headlines in 2009, the credit union system is originating near-record loan volumes in the face of this contraction.
Through September, the 7,631 FirstLook credit unions saw their year-to-date loan originations increase 4.3 percent annually. This growth comes as credit unions remain a viable source of credit during a three-month period in which the Federal Reserve Board's Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey shows 24.1percent of banks tightening their mortgage lending standards and more than 15 percent of banks tightening their credit card lending and consumer lending.
Third quarter trends noted in the FirstLook program also include:
- As of September, the 7,631 credit unions that make up the FirstLook group reported outstanding loan balances of $576.0 billion. This represents an increase of 1.2 percent from the balances these same credit unions reported in June. This balance-sheet growth comes even as credit unions continue to expand their presence in the secondary market.
- This increased availability of credit has driven an increase in membership at the nation's credit unions over the past year. As of September, these FirstLook credit unions now serve over 90 million members.
- As membership totals have increased, credit unions have also seen an increase in their deposit volume as these new members develop relationships with their credit unions on both sides of the balance sheet. Share balances were up an impressive 8.8 percent through September, a record high for this group of credit unions, and up three percentage points from the growth rate the industry reported in the previous September.
- Even as credit unions continue to originate loans to a growing membership base, they have maintained solid levels of asset quality. Through September, credit unions reported a delinquency rate of 1.69 percent. While this represents a 10 bp increase from June, it also marks a slowdown from the average increase in delinquency over the past four quarters. Additionally, credit unions have also seen their charge-off levels remain practically unchanged over the past quarter, increasing only 2 bp from industry trends reported in June.
The FirstLook program invites credit unions to submit their 5300 call reports in advance of the official data release. The program currently has data for credit unions representing more than 99% of the industry's June asset totals, allowing for the most complete pre-release data analysis available.
Credit unions with access to Callahan's Peer-to-Peer Software and CUAnalyzer.com software solutions can use the data to get a jump start on their 3Q performance analysis, including the ability to conduct performance comparisons using fully customizable peer groups.