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Autos boost CU lending, CUNA estimates say
MADISON, Wis. (3/4/14)--Credit unions continue to bolster their loan balances, particularly with auto lending, according to the monthly credit union estimates report released by the Credit Union National Association Monday.
 
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"Auto lending was robust with new auto loan balances rising 1.8% and used auto balances up 0.8%--more than twice as fast as reported last year," CUNA Senior Economist Steve Rick told News Now .
 
He added that credit unions reported strong loan growth in January with loan balances rising 0.5%, faster than the 0.1% reported in January 2013. Adjustable-rate mortgages also grew rapidly at 2.9% in the first month of the year as the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable rates increased.
 
Declining loan products were other mortgages (-1.6%), credit cards (-1.5%) and fixed-rate first mortgages (-0.6%).
 
The National Credit Union Administration's year-end call report numbers show strong loan activity, also led by auto loans. (See related story: CUs' 2013 financials show continued positive trends.)
 
Rick said credit quality improved in the last few months as the loan delinquency rate fell to 0.95% of total loans in January 2014, down from 1.12% one year earlier.
 
"The year-over-year decline was caused by the dollar amount of delinquent loans falling by -8.8% while total loan balances increasing by 7.3%," he said, adding that credit union loan delinquency rates are slowly approaching their historical long-run average of 0.75% of total loans. 
 
"We forecast the loan delinquency rate to continue to decline throughout 2014 before reaching 0.85% by January 2015," Rick told News Now .
 
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Credit union savings balances increased 1.2% in January compared with a 0.1% decrease in December. Share drafts led with a 4.6% pace.
 
The capital ratio remained at 10.5%, which has been holding steady since last January.  Credit unions hold a total dollar amount of capital of $115.5 billion.
 
The loan-to-savings ratio declined to 69.8% in January from 70.3% in December.
 
Total credit union membership grew 0.2% during January, putting credit unions over the 99-million mark.


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