Economic Improvements Seen In Credit Union Data

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Lending at credit unions continues to grow, with the national average loan-to-share ratio rising to 74.2% in September, according to just-released data.

According to CUNA, September's figure is an improvement from the credit union industry average ratio of 73.9% just one month earlier, and is consistent with an expanding economy.

Loans grew 0.6% in September to $421.3 billion-an 8.4% increase for the year and 10.9% over September 2003's $379.9 billion.

CUNA economic analyst Mike Schenk said the data indicate a shift from mortgage lending to other types of lending, particularly unsecured credit and new-auto loans.

Those new auto loans were up to 17.1% from 16.8% a year prior at credit unions, despite challenges from 0% financing from manufacturers.

Savings balances increased 0.3% in September to $567.7 billion, compared with $542.2 billion a year ago, which was a 0.5% decline. Year-to-date, savings balances have dropped 4.2% compared with 8.5% year-to-date in September 2003, CUNA said. The fastest-growing savings products were one-year certificates, which grew 0.8%.

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