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The latest data from the NCUA on federally insured credit unions reported positive savings and loan growth in the majority of categories in 2008, while return on average assets declined as loan loss reserves increased.Assets increased 7.7% to $813.4 billion from $755 billion. Investments increased 16.7% to $166.3 billion from $142.5 billion. Loans increased 7.08% to $566 billion from $528.6 billion. Shares increased 7.71% to $681.1 billion from $632.4 billion. Net worth increased 3.26% to $88.9 billion from $86.1 billion. Membership increased 2.0% to 88.6 million members.The largest increase in loans was a 14.5% increase for first mortgage real estate loans and lines of credit. Used vehicle loans increased 5.8% while new vehicle loans declined 6.2%. Foreclosed real estate grew 112.4% and repossessed vehicles increased 27.8% during 2008. Delinquent loans as a percentage of total loans increased from 0.93% in 2007 to 1.37% in 2008 and net charge-offs to average loans grew from 0.51%to 0.84% during the year.Net income decreased 47.5%, based on a 112.3% increase in the provision for loan and lease losses as credit unions prepare for possible losses.The loan-to-share ratio for 2008 was 83.1% due to the fact that total loans and total shares expanded at a similar pace. The return on average assets ratio decreased from 0.63% to 0.31% due to the fact that more funds are being set aside for loan and lease losses and other non-operating expenses.“Membership grew and lending expanded as credit unions readily fulfill their mission of serving members in these difficult times,” said NCUA Chairman Michael Fryzel. “Adverse economic conditions and distress in the financial sector place credit unions at greater risk; however, net worth remains high, helping to stabilize the industry.”

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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