In another sign of improving economic health in the hard-hit sand states, the $718 million Altura Credit Union Friday reported nearly $5 million in net income for the first quarter of 2013.
The black ink marks Altura’s eighth consecutive quarter of net gains after cutting 35 positions and closing three retail branches in 2009.
The Riverside, Calif., credit union also reported 10.13% net worth, up significantly from 8.10% reported one year ago.
Altura said its financials reflect the improvements seen throughout the Inland Empire, an eastern suburb of the greater Los Angeles area with 4 million residents that was at one time the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country.
Delinquent loans declined to 1.23% as of April 30 compared to 2.04% for the first quarter of 2012. Net charge offs declined to just 0.81%, Altura’s lowest numbers since the housing market crashed.
“Our current levels of financial strength are the highest we have experienced in our nearly 57 years of operation,” said CEO Mark Hawkins. “However, although we are clearly seeing economic improvements nationally and regionally, our immediate marketplace continues to face challenges.
“Unemployment still hovers at 10%, which is hampering the area’s full recovery. Fortunately, the housing market is showing substantial improvement with fewer foreclosures, stronger sales and rising prices.”
Hawkins said although the economy is improving in the I.E., members still worry about job security, which hampers loan growth.
To promote lending, Altura said it recently launched a monthly series of free breakfast workshops to both members and the general public on a variety of topics, such as building a better budget, understanding credit and resume writing tips.
Altura has a community charter that includes Southern California’s Riverside and San Diego counties.
Late last year, Altura also rolled out a Reliance Checking Account that gives members with a negative credit history a chance to re-establish a relationship with a financial institution and better manage their finances.