MBLs Top $7.8B, Car Loans Still Surging
One sign that the economy is improving is the $7.8 billion increase in member business loans over the past 12 months.
That’s according to data from CUNA Mutual Group’s April Credit Union Trends Report. Now, MBLs represent 7.3% of all credit union loans.
Meanwhile, total loans reached the $664 billion mark in February, the latest month tracked, up 0.6% year to date and 8.1% since the same month last year.
Nearly 46% of the $50 billion annual increase is attributable to gains in vehicle loans, which were up 12.3%, the report’s data showed.
“Despite extremely bad weather, which reduced consumer activity in most of the nation, credit unions expanded their new and used vehicle portfolios in each of the first two months of 2014 for a total YTD increase of 1.7%,” said Dave Colby, CUNA Mutual chief economist.
At the end of February, total vehicle loans were almost $206 billion, up $41 billion or 25% from their cyclical low in March 2011 and 12.3% year-over-year, according to the data. Vehicle loans now equal 31% of all credit union loans.
The used vehicle portfolio is up 1.3% YTD and 11.4% year-over-year. Colby said this is the strongest growth since March 2004. While used vehicles equal 19.8% of all credit union loans, they generated 27% of all loan growth during the past 12 months.
Colby said unlike new light vehicle sales, credit union new vehicle loans did not fall in February and were up 2.4% YTD. Annual growth is holding around 14%, he added.
“Even with mixed results from the fourth quarter data revisions, credit unions continued to carry considerable positive momentum through the first two months of 2014,” said Colby. “Loan, asset and membership growth remain strong, as do capital levels.”
Still, certain areas continue to be watched.
“Several factors could stall our nascent recovery; most are geopolitical and we have little control,” Colby offered. “We are also watching the housing sector closely and hope recent softness in sales, starts and financing, was just weather related.”