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WASHINGTON – A slow fourth quarter in 2003 prompted many credit unions to seek out other funding as share balances came to a crawl. More than 500 credit unions participating in Callahan & Associates’ First Look program, which provides an early industry snapshot, reported shares growing only 0.46% in fourth quarter 2003, down from an already low 1.41% in third quarter 2003. Loan growth at 2.74% for these credit unions outpaced share growth for the third consecutive quarter. The trend of loans outpacing shares was consistent throughout last year, which could make 2003 the first year that loan growth outpaced share growth since 2000, Callahan reported. “The number of credit unions that borrow money is small and generally limited to larger, more sophisticated credit unions,” said Callahan & Associates Executive Vice President Jay Johnson. “However, I expect we will see an increase in the number of credit unions that borrowed in the fourth quarter, as well as an increase in total borrowings.” Credit unions in Callahan’s First Look program have combined assets of $180 billion, representing approximately 30% of industry assets, Callahan said.

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