FirstLook: $500M - $1B Peer Group Continues to Grow at Steady Pace

FirstLook Second Quarter data shows strong performance and annual growth rates for credit unions with assets between $500 million and $1 billion.


Due to the positive response from last week's article on the second quarter performance of credit unions in the "Billion Dollar Club", we wanted to continue our look mid-year performance by focusing on credit unions with assets between $500 million and $1 billion.

Currently, Callahan's First Look program provides data for 196 credit unions with assets between $500 million and $1 billion. These credit unions represent $138 billion in total assets, or approximately 16% of the total industry through mid-year. You can view the entire list of FirstLook participants, and their asset totals, here.

Loan Growth Beats National Average

Loan growth for this group of credit unions was 5.8% annually. This growth, while down from the 8.6% these credit unions reported in the previous year, is increasing at a faster pace than the national average (5.0%) through mid-year. One factor in this slowdown in loan growth was the record high number of sales on the secondary market. This was true for the industry as a whole, with industry-wide 1st mortgage sales of $31.2B through June, and for this peer group as well, which saw their YTD 1st mortgage sales increase 117% to $5.9B at midyear. While strong growth in the first mortgage portfolio, up 8.9%, remains the major driver of the remaining increase, credit unions in this peer group also notched impressive growth in the auto lending market.

Through June, these 196 credit unions reported an annual increase of 3.4% in their auto loan portfolio, an impressive increase for a group of credit unions that saw their auto loan balances declining just one year ago. A major factor in this growth was the 7.1% increase in indirect lending reported as credit unions and local dealers engaged in a number of successful partnerships during the course of the year. During the year, seven credit unions in this group saw their auto loan balances increase by more than 50%. Advancial (TX) was the growth leader in June, nearly doubling their auto loan balances, up 98%, over the previous 12 months as their indirect loan volume increase four-fold. Also notching impressive annual growth in their auto loan portfolio were General Electric (OH) and EDS (TX), both up 59% during the year as their own indirect loan growth also saw impressive increases through June.

Positive Share Growth in All Major Categories

This strong increase in loan balances is due in part to increased liquidity available as credit unions in this peer group saw an increase of 9.5% in their total share balances. There were four credit unions in this group that increased their share balances by 30% or more during the 12 months ended in June 2009. Those credit unions were:

1. Dupaco Community (IA) – 35.1%
2. NavyArmy (TX) – 33.3%
3. Advantis (OR) – 31.5%
4. Leominster (MA) – 30.4%

While credit unions in this group notched annual increases in all of the major share growth categories, the category with the fastest growth rate was money market shares, up 18.9% annually. The fastest growth in money market shares come from I.H. Mississippi Valley (IL), who saw an increase of 157% in money market balances as members shifted focus towards higher yielding accounts. In addition to the growth in money market share balances, both regular shares and IRA/Keogh balances increased at a double digit pace, up 10.5% and 18.0% respectively. However, the other share accounts also saw growth at the individual credit union level. In fact four credit unions, including San Francisco Fire (CA) and Scott (IL), saw double-digit annual growth in all five of the major share categories.

Conducting Your Own Analysis

For more information on the FirstLook program, or to learn how you can conduct this analysis for a custom peer group of your own selection, please contact Callahan's Analytics Department at (800) 446-7453, or email