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WASHINGTON – Callahan & Associates’ preliminary year-end 2002 data is a mixed bag of news for credit unions. Loan growth for 2002 was greater than the previous year, but share growth for the year will come in slightly below 2001. Share growth in 2002 among the CUs that participated in First Look was 14.0%, just below 2001′s rate of 14.7%. Loan growth however reached 10.0% for the year; in 2001, it was 6.7%. The uptick in share growth and the low cost of funds resulted in First Look CUs’ ROA falling to 1.25% from 1.27% in the third quarter. Although share growth in 2002 was less than in 2001, it still outpaced loan growth, and Callahan said this is the first time this happened since the first quarter 2002. With share growth outpacing loan growth, investment portfolio yields was crucial for credit unions. Among the First Look CUs, the top five over $50 million in assets had yields ranging from 4.88% to 5.33%. As an industry, Callahan concluded, credit unions continue to be financially sound. Preliminary data show the net worth to assets ratio staying steady at 10%. Their delinquency ratio also remains stable at 0.6%.

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