BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/24/13)--For the third consecutive year, Alabama and Florida credit unions saw a major increase in assets in the first quarter, according to the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.
"For six quarters now we've seen credit unions gain a greater wallet share from their members," said Patrick La Pine, LSCU president/CEO. "Both states have a record number of assets, and Alabama continues to have a record number of members. Credit unions have been working hard to draw in new members but to also get existing members to fully utilize the credit union as their preferred financial institution."
In 2013, the asset growth rate for Alabama credit unions was 3.2%--equal to the national credit union average, LSCU said. Alabama's 123 credit unions collectively have $18.3 billion in assets, a $569 million jump in assets in the first quarter.
In Florida, asset growth surpassed the national average by 3.9%. Florida's 159 credit unions collectively have $47 billion in assets, a $1.7 billion gain in assets in the first quarter.
Alabama continues its record pace for membership, LSCU said. The state added 15,000 new members in the first quarter, for a record 1.85 million members. Florida added 33,000 new members in the period to reach 4.62 million members. Nationally, credit unions added 777,000 new members to set a record with 96.7 million members, the league said.
The quality and quantity of loans continue to increase in both states, said LSCU. The number of delinquent loans in Florida dropped below 2% (1.98%) for the first time in years. That also represents a 40% drop in delinquencies in three years.
In Alabama, delinquent loans continue to trend down at 1.18%, an18-basis point drop from 2012. Net charge-offs in each state also fell. In Florida, net charge-offs are at 1.12%--a more than 1% drop from three years ago. In Alabama, net charge offs are at 0.63%. Also, credit unions in each state are setting aside less in loan loss provisions.
Loans continue to be the focus of credit unions. In the first quarter, Florida credit unions added $54 million in new member business loans (MBL), while Alabama added $6 million in new MBL loans. Florida credit unions added more than $200 million in new loans to the books.
"Credit unions have been fighting to have the member business lending cap raised so more can make MBLs," La Pine said. "In two years, Alabama and Florida credit unions have made more than $200 million in business loans. With delinquencies and net charge-offs low, it shows quality loans are being made. More small businesses need to check with their credit union for a loan."
If Congress were to raise the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets from 12.25%, it would generate $13 billion in new loans and create 140,000 new jobs, the Credit Union National Association said.