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WASHINGTON – The most popular search topic for the month of March on Callahan and Associates’ CU Info Search engine was “expense ratio.” CU Info Search (www.cuinfosearch.com) is a credit union specific search engine that searches 130,000 unique Web pages, including NCUA, CUNA, NAFCU, research groups, vendors and other sites that may touch on the credit union industry. Why was expense ratio so popular in March? Very likely because of the current economic environment. Callahan believes CUs are trying to determine what is an acceptable expense ratio because operating expenses are growing at 10% a year, but assets are not keeping pace. Credit unions however have pressure to increase operational expenses to gain a competitive edge through new products, better talent, etc. Indirect lending continues to be a popular topic, coming in at No. 2. In February indirect lending was also a top search. Other leading searches for March include mergers, which the industry continues to see more of, and loan participation as CUs stretched to their limits look to lighten their books while still meeting member loan demand. March’s list is also interesting for what’s not on top. Despite the announcement of two billion Texas CUs – OmniAmerican CU and Community CU – planning to convert to banks, “conversion” was only No. 15 on the list.

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