MADISON, Wis.-April's economic data from CUNA shows the seasonal tendencies of credit union balance sheets. The loan-to-savings ratio was up to 68% in April from 67.4% in March, according to CUNA's monthly estimates. CUNA Economist Mike Schenk told Credit Union Times, even though savings grew a little slower than anticipated and loans grew a little faster than expected for this April, "From a seasonal standpoint, loans typically outpace savings growth in April." Two reasons for the seasonal adjustment in the spring are more people borrowing to pay taxes or do home improvement projects, the economist said. So no speedy recovery is expected any time soon. Schenk said the economy was likely to begin to pick up by the middle of next year. While savings grew just 0.1% in the month of April to $528.3 billion, the amount of loans outstanding grew 0.9% in the same time period to $359.1 billion. This was the highest monthly loan growth since June 2002. Loans outstanding last April only totaled $336.8 billion, according to CUNA's data. On the savings side of the ledger, Individual Retirement Accounts led the way with 1.6% growth, while regular shares actually dropped 3.3% for the month. Used car loans and adjustable-rate mortgages bolstered lending with 1.4% and 1.2% growth, respectively. Schenk said that he does expect double-digit loan growth – around 10% – for 2003. By year-end 2004, he said to expect the loan growth to outpace shares and the loan-to-share ratio to creep up to 72% or 73%. In the meantime, credit unions' capital-to-asset ratio held steady at 10.6% and delinquencies have remained at 0.8% for half a year. Asset quality "looks very healthy, I mean, low that is," Schenk commented. [email protected]

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