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Survey Shows CU CEO Confidence At New Low

DALLAS-Confidence in the economy continues to wane among credit union CEOs, as an increasing number indicate they believe economic conditions for CUs are likely to worsen, according to Southwest Corporate CU's quarterly confidence index.

The CU CEO Confidence Index dropped to its lowest point in the last six quarters and is step with a recent two-month decline in consumer confidence, as measured by the U.S. Conference Board.

The survey asks CU execs to assess the current financial condition of their CUs and their members, as well as expected conditions six months from now.

The survey shows CEOs expect a decline in loan demand and a subsequent narrowing of margins, but Southwest Manager of Advisory Services Brian Turner suggested this is typical during a transition to a new rate cycle, and eventually CUs will enjoy widening spreads.

The Journal's SEG & BD Meeting Draws Full House

ORLANDO-The Credit Union Journal's SEG & Business Development Conference attracted another full house last week. On tap were dozens of discussions and presentations on how to better penetrate communities and SEGs. The Journal will provide full coverage in an upcoming issue.

CUs Expect Bankruptcy Bill To Move This Week

WASHINGTON-With Congress returning this week, credit unions are preparing for several big issues expected to come up when lawmakers return to the Hill, including the long-awaited bankruptcy reform bill. "We believe we have more support than is necessary to pass this bill, but we're not taking any chances given this bill's storied past," said CUNA's Gary Kohn. Both CUNA and NAFCU have urged credit unions to lobby their lawmakers while they are in their home districts to ensure the bill's passage.

CUNA Develops GSE Strategy

WASHINGTON-CUNA used the congressional recess as time to work on determining what position credit unions should take on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accounting irregularities as hearings examining the government sponsored enterprises are expected to continue. The trade association is also looking to offer more of the advocacy and media training that was initially unveiled at CUNA's GAC.

While that first training segment was geared towards league personnel, CUNA's Richard Gose said future segments will be open to board members, CU staff and anyone who regularly participates in lobbying efforts like Hike The Hill.

CU Offers Spin On Speedway

TALLADEGA, Ala.-America's First FCU is using its status as "the Official Credit Union of Talladega Superspeedway" to promote its auto loans and refinancing programs by offering members who finance or refinance any new or used vehicle of $5,000 or more to take a free spin around Talladega Superspeedway.

Any member of America's First who finances or refinances $5,000 or more the CU by April 28 will also receive a track ride voucher good for a drive around the famed 2.66-mile track on May 21, which will be followed by a VIP picnic. Participants will also be entered to win a new 2005 Ford Mustang, customized by Manheim Mark III Customs. The winning entry will be drawn on April 29, and the winner will be presented with the keys to the car before the May 1 Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in order to take a parade lap prior to the start of the race.

Economy Continues Strong Gains

ARLINGTON, Va.-The economy continues to show strong gains according to NAFCU Economist Jeff Taylor, who noted that somewhere between 200,000 and 225,000 new jobs were created in the last month. That's the good news. The bad news is that if long-term rates increase, as NAFCU is projecting they will, inflation will also rise.

The Credit Union Journal's On Deadline coverage is sponsored by Liberty. For info: www.libertysite.com.

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