After recent upswings of record growth, member business lending activity continues to slow down in large part because of the drag on the economy.

Year-to-date, MBL portfolios are up just 1.7%, according to the October issue of CUNA Mutual Group's "Credit Union Trends Report." Revised data indicated that MBL growth slowed to 7% at the end of August. Annual growth was 33.6% in 2005 and while still respectable, continued to drop in 2006 to 23.4% and even further in 2007 to 17.2%. The credit union industry experienced 18% MBL growth in 2008.

"While we believe the demand is there for MBLs given all of the other lenders who have extensively curtailed small business lending or left the market, credit unions are proceeding cautiously with expanding their MBL portfolios given the economic times, collateral valuations and overall business climate," said Dave Colby, chief economist with CUNA Mutual.

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