As encouraging news bubbles up, credit unions continue to improve communities and the lives of members.
The economy is showing signs of promise. Consumer confidence has hit levels not seen in 36 months. People are feeling better about the economic and employment climate, and positive attitudes usually lead to positive outcomes. The auto industry is enjoying increased sales and lending opportunities. The New York Times reports a substantial uptick in the willingness of consumers to purchase cars, which is emblematic of a renewed confidence in the overall economy. Even Warren Buffett has taken the time to comment on the rebirth of America in his yearly report to shareholders. He praises the country for its plentiful opportunity and bright future. Indeed, Berkshire Hathaway had an excellent year in 2010 when it generated $13 billion in net income.
All of these developments indicate that the economy is on its way back to prosperity. As this year's Governmental Affairs Conference kicks off, the question for credit unions is this: What can the cooperative movement do to not only propagate the growth but also serve as the engine for it? Credit unions performed brilliantly during the recession, but now that the clouds are parting, credit unions must work harder.
Mid American Credit Union used a thorough action plan to generate impressive ROA and loan growth across much of its portfolio. The credit union’s strategic thinking and results-based actions made it a reliable pillar in its community.
In general, the cooperative movement has been picking up lending steam as the calendar has changed from 2010 to 2011. With loan originations of $68.5 billion in the fourth quarter (a record high level), credit unions illustrated both their value and their commitment to sustaining growth in communities of all sizes.
Fundamentally, credit unions need to recognize that their prominent role in generating growth during the recovery does not excuse them from keeping the heat on. Credit unions should (and they do) drive local economies forward with strong lending initiatives and programs aimed at saving members money. The cooperative movement ignited the positive trends during the recession; there’s no reason to stop now.