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WASHINGTON – The 10 largest credit unions in assets grew by an average of 11.1% in 2004 thanks to a 16.5% growth in loan balances. According to Callahan & Associates, Inc, the top 10 CUs saw membership rise by 6.4%; net worth levels increase to 9.7% of assets; asset quality remain outstanding with a 0.5% delinquency ratio; and return on assets decline 17 basis points to 1.17%. Other highlights for 2004 saw share growth reach 9.9% for the year, led by a 17.5% jump in certificate balances – five times the growth rate posted by this category in 2003. The result is a 4.5 percentage point jump in the loan-to-share ratio to 81.7% at year-end. Responding to strong loan demand, these credit unions diversified their funding sources in 2004 for liquidity and asset liability management, Callahan reported. Borrowings increased by 38.5% to $3.5 billion during the year. The Golden 1 Credit Union and American Airlines Federal Credit Union were the only ones in this group that did not have any borrowings outstanding at year-end. Together, these 10 credit unions make up $52.7 billion in assets or 11.3% of the total industry’s assets. “These credit unions set the pace for overall industry performance,” said Jay Johnson, executive vice president of Callahan & Associates. “Their challenge in 2005 will be to sustain lending momentum in a rising rate environment while continuing to develop and deliver services that provide exceptional value for members.” Callahan’s First Look tracks data from 754 credit unions that have combined assets of $223 billion, representing approximately 34% of industry assets.

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