ALEXANDRIA, Va.-According to preliminary Call Report data from NCUA, federally insured credit unions experienced more than 5% savings growth in just the first quarter of 2003. First mortgages grew 3.7%, or $104.4 billion, in the first three months of the year. Used car loans also increased 2.3% or nearly $74 billion in the first quarter, while unsecured loans maintained their downhill course, dropping 6.25% or more than $20 billion. New car loans from federally insured credit unions fell 1.74% for $59.4 billion. On the savings side of the ledger, share drafts and share savings exhibited the largest percentage of growth, 10.4% and 6.5% respectively. As a result, funds in cash and investments increased by double digits (13.53%). Investments in corporate credit unions expanded 22.62%, and investments in commercial banks, thrifts, and savings banks grew 5.3%. Even in these tough economic times of little lending and low interest rates, federally insured credit unions' return on assets is at 1.04%. Other highlights of the Call Report findings show that: *Assets are up 5.09%, up from $557.1 to $585.4 billion; *Total loans increased 0.54%, up from $342.6 to $344.5 billion; *Savings jumped 5.39%, up from $484.2 to $510.3 billion; *Investments increased 6.83%, up from $140.2 to $149.8 billion; *Net worth increased 2.47%, up from $59.7 to $61.2 billion; and *Loan to share ratio declined from 70.8% to 67.5%. The 9,602 federally insured credit unions' average equity ratio fell from its peak at 10.72% at year-end 2002 to 10.45% at the end of March. This is also down from 10.84% in December 2001. Delinquencies declined from 0.79% at year-end 2002 to 0.74% at the end of the first quarter 2003. However, chargeoffs increased slightly from 0.51% to 0.55% in the same time period. While the number of credit unions continues to shrink, namely due to mergers, credit union membership continued to grow 0.71% in the first three months of 2003. Members of federally insured credit unions increased from 80.9 million to 81.5 million in the first quarter. [email protected]

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