Flashback to 2003: Key Performance Challenges Remain the Same for Credit Unions

As an industry, can looking back help us look forward? Callahan's examined 2nd quarter data one year ago and identified some of the challenges facing credit unions. Twelve months later, several key issues remain, including stronger member relationships, not membership expansion, driving credit union growth; low-rate environment causing a rise in loans while investment yields declined; and tight margins forcing revenue-generating alternatives.


America's 9,727 credit unions continued to post strong results in the second quarter of 2003 - a quarter made particularly challenging by interest rate volatility across the yield curve. Total credit union assets rose 11.8% over the twelve-month period ending June 30 to reach $612.2 billion. Membership has expanded to 83.4 million, but the numbers reveal that credit union growth is being driven by stronger member relationships, not membership expansion.

Strong, Balanced Share Growth
Shares increased to $532.6 billion with both short and long term shares balances rising at a double-digit pace over the past year. Share growth during the quarter followed the seasonal pattern of slowing from the first quarter's pace, but the 2.3% growth rate equaled that of second quarter 2002.

The 11.3% share growth rate over the past 12 months exceeds the 2.9% membership growth rate by nearly four times, indicating that growth is coming primarily from members deepening their credit union relationships rather than funds from new members.

While money market and regular shares have led the growth, accounting for $36.9 billion of the $54.1 billion in new shares added to the credit union balance sheet over the past year, IRA deposits rose 11.3% over the same period.




Aug. 25, 2003



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