Credit unions have originated $210.9 billion in loans in 2009, a 5 percent increase versus the first nine months of 2008 and on pace for the highest annual volume ever for the industry. First mortgage activity, particularly refinances, is the driver of the increased volume as consumer borrowing has pulled back in 2009. The record loan origination activity is not translating to high balance sheet growth rates. Loans outstanding have risen 2.6 percent over the past year, down from the 7.2 percent annual growth rate posted as of September 2008.
A siginificant factor in the low balance sheet growth is secondary market sales of first mortgages by credit unions. With mortgage rates at historic lows, many credit unions are opting to sell their firsts rather than put low-rate, long-term assets on their books. Secondary market sales are at $42.4 billion for the industry through the first nine months of the year, a record pace and more than tiple the volume sold through September 2008.