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In 2012 we had the same number of loans as 2011 (which was a good year for us), but lower dollar amounts, fewer autos and more signature loans. Mortgage loans have been more purchases, but local property values have been dropping and cut the number of refinances. The thought of "falling off a fiscal cliff" drastically cut our normal holiday loan business to a trickle. We had higher hopes for 2012, until when in late November and all of December loans dried up.
Last year we were inundated with members moving their money to us, which really caused our capital ratio to plunge. Even though we cut our dividend rates people still kept coming. What are you supposed to do, tell people you don't want them as members? You don't want their money? We had been planning on adding employees or at least part-timers. Now, we're going to wait and see. If things don't improve by the end of March, we won't be hiring. The political parties act like they are at war with one another. All the political shenanigans with nothing getting done to help our country is killing business and the news media makes any bad news even worse by blowing everything up way out of proportion.
We are realistically optimistic about the Nebraska economy, as we are in an area where unemployment is low, and the agricultural industry is very strong. Mortgage refinancing may be at or past peak. Consumer loans should be strong, but competition for those is fierce. Home values are generally stable to slightly rising. Several large construction projects help the economy in 2014.
Denver, and Colorado in general, are experiencing reasonable growth in various areas, and we expect that to continue in 2013. Denver, and Colorado, have been noted in various business media as one of the top places to live and work. Home sales, and home prices, are trending up. Auto lending has improved.
Unemployment remains at a historically high levels, but is stable. The political arena could bring significant change as the Governor, Senate and House are all now controlled by the Democratic party; there are numerous social issue bills that will be presented and could be approved quickly.
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