WASHINGTON – CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said in a conference call last week that loans are on the rise while savings growth is slipping and credit unions can expect more of the same for the remainder of 2004. “Loans are running stronger than any year since 2000 and savings are also weaker than the previous three years,” Hampel said.” I think loan growth will continue to surge for the rest of the year and savings will remain kind of soft as the economy gathers momentum.” Loans grew 1.3% in May, up a full percent from the same time last year. Adjustable rate mortgages, home equity loans, second mortgages, and new auto loans led loan growth expanding 3.4%, 2%, 1.1%, and 0.9%, respectively. According to CUNA’s Month Credit Union Estimates for May, unsecured loans were down 0.4%. Home equity loan rates are already on the rise, ahead of the Federal Reserve right now. Hampel called June’s Federal Open Market Committee rate increase of 25 basis points “the most anticipated rate change that we’ve ever had, so I don’t think it has much of an impact at all.” He added that he expects that the gradual increase-about 25 basis points every six weeks-throughout rest of year will have more of an impact. “By the beginning of next year, short rates are going to be substantially higher than they are now,” Hampel said. Savings grew just 0.3% in May, as opposed to 2.2% during the same period last year. Year-to-date, savings has grown just 4.7% as compared to 7.6% a year ago. Money market accounts experienced the most growth at 1.2%, followed by regular shares (0.6%) and certificates (0.2%). Individual retirement accounts were down 0.3%. Between May 2003 and May 2004, the loan to share ratio jumped from 67.5% to 70.3%. [email protected]

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