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WASHINGTON-The loan-to-share ratio for federally insured credit unions grew to 74.49% in 2004, the highest it has reached since 2000. Loans were up 10% at the same time, while delinquencies continued to decline to their lowest point in recent history at 0.72%, according to preliminary year-end data from NCUA. “Credit unions are posting excellent results as loans expand and delinquencies decline,” NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson said. “Year-end 2004 results reflect the nation’s expanding economy. Lending grew across the board indicating strong consumer confidence, and credit card delinquencies declined as recoveries went up. In fact, the dollar amount of credit card delinquencies is at its lowest level since 2000. And, with continued consistent share savings growth, credit unions are well positioned to adapt to today’s dynamic financial markets and to meet the evolving needs of their members.” Other notable statistics from NCUA’s year-end report: * Assets increased 6.04%, to $647.0 billion from $610.1 billion; * Return on Average Assets was 0.92%; * Loans increased 10.13%, to $414.3 billion from $376.1 billion; * First mortgages were up 10.42% to $129.8 billion, while other real estate loans grew 23.78% to $61.96 billion; * New car loans were up 11.76% to $71.25 billion and used car loans grew 4.17% to $84.63 billion; * Unsecured credit card loans grew 3.46% to $22.5 billion; * Shares increased 5.26% to $556.1 billion from $528.3 billion; * Share savings grew 4.10% to $200 billion; * Share drafts grew 11% to $72.4 billion; * Other shares, including IRA/KEOGH and CDs grew 4.71% to $283.7 billion; * Investments decreased 0.67%, to $159.7 billion from $160.8 billion; * Investments in federal agency securities were down 1.5% and bank and thrift deposits fell 4.4%; * Corporate credit union investments were up 7.3%; * Net worth increased 8.56%, to $71.0 billion from $65.4 billion; * Net worth to asset ratio jumped 10.97%; and * Membership grew 1.37%, to 83.6 million members from 82.4 million. The total number of credit unions continues to trend downward, but, simultaneously, the number of credit union branches grew 2% in 2004, and the number of shared branches was up 5.4%. Credit unions also continue to expand their presence online with 5,297 operating Web sites. [email protected]

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