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DALLAS – After nearly a year of steadily declining optimism, credit union CEOs are feeling a bit better about things, according to Southwest Corporate’s Credit Union CEO Confidence survey, which is done quarterly. Results mirror the upturn in consumer confidence reported by the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. The CU CEO Confidence Index rose to 37.26 in the July report-up from 34.81 as measured in April. The CU CEO Confidence Index is a compilation of responses measuring credit union CEOs’ feelings on six key issues: *Members current financial conditions *Credit unions’ current financial condition *Members’ financial condition six months from now *Credit unions’ financial condition six months from now *Loan demand at the credit union in six months *Share deposit growth at the credit union in six months Measurements showed a marked increase across the board with the exception of share deposit growth at credit unions six months from now. That number fell from 23.47 in April to 19.50 in June. Expectation for loan demand reflected the biggest jump-rising from 21.77 in April to 30.09 in June. The survey was sent to 531 credit union CEOs across the nation in June. The total number of responses-159-was the highest since Southwest Corporate began the survey in January, 2004. “Credit union CEOs are most likely more comfortable with the spread between loan and investment yields and current cost of funds,” said Brian Turner, manager of advisory services for Southwest Corporate’s Investment Service division. Turner noted that during the first quarter, the steepness of the curve between loan/investment yields and the fed funds rate widened by 20 basis points. First quarter credit union financial performance shows average gross margin declined by only 6 basis points from 3.32% to 3.26%, with cost of funds unchanged at 1.49%. Total loans had an annualized growth rate of 1.5% whiles shares were expanding by 2.4%. The results suggest credit unions had higher liquidity profiles in the first quarter than what was projected. “In that loan demand traditionally is weak during the first quarter, it’s relatively good performance this year makes CU CEOs to expect much improved loan growth in the near future without adversely impacting liquidity,” he said. Verdena Baker, CEO of the $17 million, 3,500-member Caprock Santa Fe Credit Union near Lubbock, Texas, says her membership seems to be feeling pretty good. “We are a small enough credit union that we know a lot of our members. We don’t hear much about job losses.” That employment confidence may be helping to fuel steady loan demand at Caprock Santa Fe Credit Union. “Loans have taken off again,” Baker said. Baker says her confidence is up, even though the credit union has shrunk slightly in size. “Some people are pulling a little of their money out of the credit union and perhaps investing it in the stock market or longer term certificates of deposit. They told us when they brought the money in that they would take it back out when the economy improved. They have kept their word.” Baker said.

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