Despite nine consecutive months of loan portfolio contraction, member business loans continue to be among those outpacing other credit union lending categories.
According to CUNA Mutual Group's December issue of Credit Union Trends Report, at $581 billion, total loans were down 1.6% over 2009. The report looked at data through October. Member business loans, used vehicle loans, and first mortgages were the only portfolios in positive territory.
NCUA call report data revealed 58% of all credit unions reported loan portfolio declines between the third quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2010, the trends report noted. These credit unions hold 55% of industry assets.
"This is not just a small credit union challenge as 53% of billion-dollar plus credit unions also reported declines," wrote Dave Colby, chief economist at CUNA Mutual. "Roughly 75% of the year over year industry decline is attributable to these larger credit unions."
Colby said on a year over year basis, the credit union industry's loan portfolio has contracted for nine consecutive months. CUNA Mutual's lending data goes back to 1992 and it took looking back over 28 years to pinpoint consecutive months of contraction, he added.
October's annual decline in real estate secured loans was the first ever, the data showed. Annual declines in excess of 17% in new vehicle loans drove total vehicle lending down 5.6% over the past year and were the primary source of negative growth trends.
"Lack of member demand for short-term credit plus outright payoffs and low interest rates [and] reduced first mortgage retention level forecast for most of 2011, imply very weak loan growth in 2011, following contraction in 2010," Colby said.