WASHINGTON – A climb in investment yield has helped to boost credit unions’ return on assets. This, according to early third quarter credit union data from the First Look Program of Callahan & Associates, Inc. Data was collected from 814 sample credit unions and include 14 of the top 25 largest credit unions in total assets. These yields rose because the Federal Reserve raised the overnight fed fund rate by 75 basis points over the past several months. In addition, cost of funds stayed stagnant at 1.50%, buoying the rise in ROA, according to Callahan. “ROA is up 10 basis points, due in part to the reluctance of credit unions to increase their dividends,” said Jay Johnson, executive vice president at Callahan. “However, flat dividend rates are leading to a decline in new shares.” The .08% quarterly share growth of the participating credit unions is not keeping pace with loan growth. The result is tightened liquidity, declining balances in investment portfolios, and an increase in borrowings, Callahan reported. Other newly-released data indicates that loan growth remained strong for the quarter at 3.6%, fueled by real estate loan originations, resulting in 5.6% growth in real estate loans outstanding. Auto loans also helped boost loan growth by increasing 1.6%. “It appears that loan growth will continue its momentum through year-end, but it’s only a matter of time until share rates rise, thus tightening the net interest margin and making it more challenging to increase ROA,” Johnson said.

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