Friday’s release of personal income and spending data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows April’s savings rate is unchanged from March’s. For the first three months of 2011, Americans saved 5.5%, on average, of their disposable income. The savings rate has slipped since the 2009 high when consumers sought safe, local institutions for their deposits. The personal savings rate does not directly affect the rate of flow of shares into financial institutions, but it is worth noting that the gap between credit unions’ annual share growth and the personal savings rate visible throughout much of the graph below (2005, 2006, 2007, etc.) has narrowed.
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According to the FDIC, all FDIC-insured institutions posted a year-over-year deposit growth of 4.4% as of March 31, 2011. That rate is up from the 2.7% annual growth rate for the same period in 2010. For a better comparison to credit unions, deposits held by individuals, partnerships, and corporations at FDIC-insured institutions increased 3.9% from March 2010. This is a notable acceleration from the 2010 rate of 2.0%. Few institutions need liquidity into today’s environment (remember a year ago when some financial institutions were paying members to take their money elsewhere?). However, a bright side to taking on additional deposits is that these new deposits are also a sign of new customers and new loan opportunities.