Double-dip recession not likely, but rate outlook may not improve until mid-2003
CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. - Erring on the side of pessimism, Callahan's Trust for Credit Unions' adviser Jan Hatzius doesn't foresee an increase in interest rates any time soon. Speaking at Callahan and Associates' annual conference in mid-July, Hatzius predicted that the Federal Reserve is as likely to raise rates as it is to lower them this year, noting that either move stands to impact what credit unions can pay on savings, charge on loans and make on investments. Hatzius is a senior economist with Goldman Sachs, the adviser to Trust for Credit Unions. "We're on the pessimistic side," Hatzius said, describing the current "bubble trouble" as unprecedented. "Normally, coming out of a recession, conditions improve and stock prices go up. But this time, stock prices are going down and household wealth is going down." Hatzius does not think a double-dip recession is in the cards because inventory levels are low and housing is still a positive factor in the economy. One of the conference attendees, Linda Darling, CFO of Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, said "it was really surprising to hear that interest rates may not increase until the second half of 2003." Darling added while the interest rate environment may be challenging for credit unions in the coming months, there are viable investment options. With $3 billion in assets, Trust for Credit Unions is the largest family of mutual funds in the credit union system.