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WASHINGTON – What a difference a year makes. At the end of the first quarter of 2004, borrowings for the credit union system totaled $11.7 billion. That figure has soared 32% to 15.5 billion at the end of the first quarter 2005. Mike Philbin, vice president of sales for Trust for Credit Unions, a mutual funds portfolio co-distributed by Callahan Financial Services, Inc. and Goldman, Sachs & Co., said the increased borrowing may indicate a CU is using it to fund short-term liquidity or to mitigate interest rate risk. Philbin said one would only need to look at the top 10 CUs in total borrowings to see the answers. One group-Navy FCU, ESL FCU and Security Service FCU-is borrowing short, with the majority of their outstanding debt coming due within a year which points to a short-term liquidity strategy. “The remaining top-10 borrowers have at least half of their borrowings maturing in more than one year, signifying that they may be employing more of a “macro” interest rate risk management strategy against longer-term assets,” Philbin said. The top 10 borrowers all share a high average loan-to-share ratio of 102%, compared to the industry average of 73%, according to Callahan.

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