The return on average assets for the country's largest credit unions has been slipping recently, but some states are still reaping big returns, according to data from Sheshunoff Information Services.

For the first nine months of 1995, the 1,180 credit unions that have more than $50 million in assets racked up a 1.14% average return on assets, down from 1.23% in 1994 and 1.45% in 1993.

But institutions in 15 jurisdictions, including Guam, enjoyed increases in ROA, in some cases significant ones. In all, ROA's in 32 states were higher than the national average.

In Louisiana, the 13 credit unions with more than $50 million in assets showed an average 1.62% return, slightly better than last year's performance, 42% higher than the national mean, and slightly better than last year's performance.

Jefferson Parish School Board Credit Union in Harvey, La., racked up a walloping 2.51% return on assets.

Constance Nunes, chief executive of the $58 million-asset institution, credited belt-tightening and increased lending for the performance.

"I'd attribute it to a dedicated and hard-working staff, and to bringing up our loan-to-share ratio from 64% to 83%," Mr. Nunes said. "We also have a very low expense ratio."

The institution, which has one branch besides its headquarters, gets by with 21 full-time and eight part-time employees, she said.

The nine big New Hampshire credit unions came in second, with an average ROA of 1.55%, down from last year's 1.58% return, but well above the national average.

Rob Kimmett, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Credit Union league, attributed the performance to managers watching their margins and taking care of traditional credit union business.

"The credit unions have been able to maintain their cost of funds and expand lending through aggressive marketing and offering attractive pricing," Mr. Kimmett said.

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