Rates Seen Rising FromDecades-Lows

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DALLAS - (11/16/04) -- Interest rates are expected to keepon rising next year from five-decade lows recorded earlier in 2004,according to economists participating in Southwest Corporate FCU'sannual economic forum here. The consensus among the speakers wasthat the Federal Reserve will continue to push up short-term ratesso that the target rate for overnight Fed Funds will rise from thecurrent 2%, to as high as 4% by the end of 2005. The consensus ofthe group was also that next year will see strong loan growth, asmuch as 10%. Bill Hampel, chief economists for CUNA, predictedrobust loan growth for credit unions in 2005 but a "downwardpressure on earnings."

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