Member business loans, which accounted for 6% of all loans in 2009, increased 5.8% in 2009 but dropped below growth trends seen over the past several years.

It remains to be seen if the pattern will continue with total loan growth for the credit union industry at a historic low of 1%, according to CUNA Mutual Group’s February Credit Union Trends Report. Looking at December 2009 data, the weak performance may understate many CUs’ actual lending activity. Over the past four months, total loans were down $3.9 billion (0.7%) as CUs defensively position themselves for a rising interest rate environment, noted CUNA Mutual Chief Economist Dave Colby.

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