Lending accelerated at the nation's credit unions by a slight 0.4% in May, the second straight positive month for loan growth at credit unions, after lending declined for the previous seven consecutive months, the Credit Union National Association said.
"Loans are still very weak but have moved in the right direction for two months in a row," said Bill Hampel, chief economist for the trade group, which monitors credit union trends monthly.
Even so, loan growth is down almost 0.7% for the first five months of 2011, after declining almost 1.4% last year.
Hampel said he thinks loan demand has turned the corner and will start picking up.
The association's team of three economists predicts positive loan growth of around 2% for the year.
Share growth also remains tepid, falling by 0.7% in May, pushing year-to-date share growth down to 3.25%, compared with 3.70% for the first five months last year, and 7.99% for the same period in 2009.