Total assets officially topped $1 trillion and net worth reached a new high of $100.3 billion, according to Call Report data released Friday by the NCUA.
The release also reported that several key financial indicators significantly improved in the first quarter of 2012.
“Credit unions now have the potential to lend to 667,000 more members added in the first quarter, on top of the 1.4 million members added in 2011. In addition to membership reaching 92.5 million, delinquencies and charge-offs fell, and the industry netted almost $2.1 billion in income,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz.
Total assets increased $40.1 billion to end the quarter at just over $1 trillion. Industry net worth grew by $2.1 billion to $100.3 billion. While the overall number of federally insured credit unions fell to 7,019 from 7,094, a record 92.5 million members belonged to a credit union as of March 31.
Declines in interest expenses and reserving for loan losses, coupled with a rise in other operating income, raised the industry’s net income. In the first three months of 2012, credit unions booked nearly $2.1 billion in net income, up significantly $369.6 million from the prior quarter. Notably, credit unions’ return on assets ratio stood at 84 basis points as of March 31, marking an increase of 17 basis points from year-end 2011.
Member shares continued to rise during the first three months of 2012. Total savings at credit unions rapidly climbed to $866.0 billion, a gain of $38.6 billion for the quarter.
The industry’s net worth ratio fell to 10.01% for the quarter, as assets grew more quickly than net worth. The 20 basis point change in the ratio was the first quarterly decline in a year.
The industry’s delinquency ratio dropped 16 basis points to 1.44%. The net charge-off ratio fell 13 basis points to 0.78%. Despite these positive declines, both ratios remain elevated above historical norms, the agency said.
New bankruptcy filings by members also increased. For the first three months of 2012, credit unions reported 70,938 members filing for bankruptcy, a 34.5% increase over the prior quarter. However, the percentage of loans charged off due to bankruptcy fell significantly to 20.69% of charged-off loans, a decrease of 318 basis points for the quarter.
The industry’s lending rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, but in the first quarter 2012, credit unions’ total loans only inched up by $532.5 million to $572.0 billion. A rise in first mortgages, used vehicles loans and non-federally insured student loans offset declines in other lending products such as credit cards, unsecured loans and other real estate loans. Because deposit inflows exceeded loan growth, the industry’s loan-to-share ratio declined to 66.05% from 69.07%.
Member business lending also rose. On March 31, the industry had $37.8 billion in outstanding member business loans, a quarterly rise of 1.4%, and an additional $1.9 billion in unfunded business loan commitments.
“The National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) first-quarter call report data underscores what everyone should already know: that credit unions are delivering the value and extraordinary service that people want in their financial institutions,” said NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker Jr.
“Main Street credit unions with their cooperative model have distinguished themselves as a great choice for consumers who continue to be appalled with Wall Street’s antics,” he said.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said, "As we expected, the membership surge that began in the fall of last year seems to have a ‘tail’ to it, as more and more consumers are realizing the value in credit union membership. This new-member growth likely also helped propel credit unions past the milestone of $1 trillion in total assets.
"And credit unions continue their record of prudent financial management, maintaining a strong net worth ratio of more than 10%, while remaining responsible lenders, as indicated by declining loan delinquency and charge-off rates. By year’s end, we expect credit unions will have grown even stronger, as lending picks up, return on assets remains steady and net worth pushes even higher.”