Assets at federally chartered credit unions are expected to grow by just 6% for 1993, less than half the 1992 increase, according to a study by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

The main reason for the dip, according to Tun A. Wai, director of research and analysis, is that interest rates paid by credit unions for deposits can't touch mutual fund yields.

"Credit unions can always raise the dividend that they give to members, but that has an impact of raising your cost of funds," said Mr. Wai, whose trade group is based in Arlington, Va.

Assets among the 8,000 federally insured credit unions grew by 12.6% last year, to $162.1 billion, after a 10% gain in 1991.

Credit unions usually grow much faster in the first half, Mr. Wai said, because the Christmas shopping reason takes a bite out of savings deposits

So far, assets are on track to grow by 3.85% in the first six months of the year, he said.

"If that trend continues, the growth of assets at federal credit unions certainly will not become any stronger in the second half of the year. It has the potential for becoming even weaker."

Meanwhile, deposits are expected to grow by 6% for the full year, and by 2.08% for the first six months. Last year, they grew by 11.8%, to $145.5 billion.

Loan Growth Still |Feeble'

Mr. Wai said loan demand at credit unions remains "feeble." He projects loans to grow at 1.52% for the first six months of the year. Last year, they grew to $87.4 billion, up $3.2 billion.

"Members are not seeking additional debt, despite the low loan interest rates credit unions continue to offer," he said.

Credit unions want to "get back on the lending track," Mr. Wai said. "They earn more money when they lend."

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