WASHINGTON -- CUNA's latest monthly credit union estimates showed loans decreasing and savings jumping in February.
Loans fell just a bit by 0.1% in February. The few categories that demonstrated increases--other mortgages, fixed-rate first mortgages, and other loans led growth--were slight at 0.7%, 0.6%, and 0.4% respectively. On the other hand, unsecured personal loans dropped 1.5% while credit card loans were down 1.1% and home equity loans were down 0.7%. New and used car loans were also down 0.6% each for the month of February.
NAFCU reported that in March, vehicle sales--particularly light trucks--in general declined from 16.6 million units in February to 16.3 million last month. Toyota and Nissan reported increased sales in March, while none of the Big Three U.S. manufacturers reported an increase. "The domestic manufacturers share of the total vehicle market decreased to 52.3%, after rising dramatically during the previous month to a level of 54.1%," NAFCU reported.
"While vehicle sales during the first three months of this year were weaker than the same period last year, the effects of the softening housing market, tightening lending standards and rising gasoline prices are likely to dampen the pace of vehicle sales over the course of the year," NAFCU Chief Economist Tun Wai wrote in the Macro Data Flash. "NAFCU forecasts that vehicle sales this year will decline to 15.9 million units from 16.5 million units in 2006."
Savings growth was led by share drafts up 4.8% with money markets and certificates up 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively, CUNA's Monthly Credit Union Estimates found in February. Regular shares fell 2.2% and individual retirement accounts were down 0.8%. "With savings out pacing loan growth, credit union's average loan-to-savings ratio decreased from 83.0% in January to 81.3% in February," according to CUNA's economists.
Meanwhile the average capital-to-asset ratio decreased from 11.5% in January to 11.4% in February and delinquencies held steady at 0.5% in February. --firstname.lastname@example.org