WASHINGTON – Net income of federally insured credit unions fell 15.7% during the first nine months of 2008, according to data released today by the NCUA.

The agency said the income decline was mostly the result of a 71.9% increase in the provision for loan and lease losses, meaning funds set aside for possible losses.

Other signs that the economic crisis is hurting credit unions included a 20 basis points increase in the loan delinquency ratio from 0.93% to 1.13%, and an increase in the net charge-off ratio from 0.51% to 0.75%., and a decline in the return on average assets ratio from 0.64% to 0.51%.

NCUA’s data, which is based on Call Report data submitted by all 7,904 federally insured credit unions, also showed some good news about the state of the industry.

Assets increased 6.4 % to $801.7 billion; Loans increased 6.3% to $560 billion; Investments increased 15.5% to $164.5 billion; Shares increased 5.8% to $668.9 billion; Net worth increased 5.21% to $89.5%; and membership increased 2% to 88.5 million members.

“Credit unions’ continued high level of net worth will help them weather today’s turbulent economy; however, credit unions are not immune to financial stress, as noted in the delinquency increase in categories such as credit cards and mortgage loans,” NCUA Chairman Michael E. Fryzel said in a statement. “NCUA is keeping a watchful eye on these adverse trends as part of a broader commitment to maintaining a safe and sound credit union industry.”