Credit Union CEO Confidence Still on Upswing
For the third consecutive quarter, credit union CEOs continued to express confidence about a number of different areas.
The Credit Union CEO Confidence Index from the Plano, Texas-based Catalyst Corporate Credit Union now stands at 32.94, up from 30.32 in the first quarter of 2014.
Using a scale ranging from negative 100 to positive 100, respondents registered their confidence levels in six areas to create an overall index, as well as a snapshot of present-day feelings and future expectations.
The CEOs were asked to evaluate:
--current financial condition of members
--current financial condition of credit union
--anticipated financial condition of members in six months
--anticipated financial condition of credit union in six months
--anticipated loan demand at the credit union in six months
--anticipated share deposit growth at the credit union in six months
The Present Situation Index also increased to 32.76 from 29.47, while the Expectations Index rose to 33.03 from 30.75 in the first quarter, according to the data.
Terry Young, director of marketing and public relations at Catalyst, said in an interview that the survey results were as expected.
“They generally track consumer confidence. As confidence goes up among consumers it also goes up among credit union CEOs,” he explained.
Over the past three years, the industry has experienced unseasonal first quarter growth in consumer loan demand, said Brian Turner, director and chief strategist for Catalyst Strategic Solutions, a subsidiary of Catalyst, in a statement.
“More recently, with annual auto sales touching the 17 million-unit level – something that has not occurred since 2007 – credit unions have seen much-needed growth in consumer loans,” he noted.
Turner added, “Unfortunately, the industry’s larger credit unions ($500 million and greater) continue to get the lion’s share of that growth. Credit unions under $500 million in assets are collectively experiencing a 12% decline.”
Asked to assess the confidence of the 1,500 credit unions served by the $2.9 billion Alloya Corporate Federal Credit Union, Victor Vrigian, senior vice president at the Warrenville, Ill.-based corporate, said some viewpoints vary.
“Small credit unions, as a group, have a lower outlook than larger credit unions, not necessarily just about the economy but generally overall,” Vrigian said. “The credit unions that have figured out lending are fairly optimistic. Most of what we hear about the economy remains more negative than positive but swinging to a better ratio between the two.”
At the $34 million 1st Valley Credit Union in San Bernardino, Calif., CEO Gregg Stockdale said his confidence was not high.
“Between the regulator and the Internet, I am no way confident about the future of credit unions in total – not just us. We’ll do fine if there is value in the model. I’m just not seeing the model gain in popularity.”