DALLAS – Southwest Corporate’s quarterly Credit Union CEO Confidence Index indicates an upbeat outlook among the nation’s credit union CEOs. The index rose to 42.46 in April, up from 33.44 in January. The CU CEO Confidence Index measures six areas: *Members’ current financial condition, *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. “There is overall optimism in the credit union industry because we’re coming off a pretty good 2005, better than what the pessimists had projected,” said Brian Turner, manager of advisory service for Southwest Corporate’s Investment Service division. “Thanks, mostly from the strong loan growth generated by attractive incentives, most are encouraged by the prospect of continued strength. Most have prudently positioned their balance sheet cash flows to recognize higher reinvestment yields and have available liquidity to meet most reasonable demands,” he added. Turner said a slowdown in the rising pace of short-term rates will relieve pressure on cost of funds, although most credit unions will be faced with a 15 to 25 basis points increase for the overall year. If it remains within that range, net margins should be protected for the year, he said. “Credit unions should cautiously evaluate their balance sheet cash flow structures and ensure they have properly positioned for future interest rate environments. In most cases, a cash flow structure mirroring a `staddled-approach,’ that is strong cash flow between 3-months to 1-year and 2.5- to 3.5-years would be prudent. This all depends on the liquidity profile of the institution, its current loans-to-share ratio and its implicit short-term interest rate risk exposure profile,” Turner said.
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