PLANO, Texas (4/7/08)--Credit union leaders are expressing significant negativity about the economy, according to Southwest Corporate FCU’s most recent CU CEO Confidence Survey. The first-quarter 2008 index registered the lowest confidence level in the survey’s four-year history, down 14.22 points from December to 20.05. The low mark sits at the bottom of a 19-point decline that began in July. Survey figures were the lowest ever recorded in all areas but one. The exception was CEOs’ expectation for share deposit growth in six months, which almost doubled to 27.25 in the first quarter from 13.92 in December. Expectation for loan demand in six months dropped to 5.18 this quarter. The pessimism that registered in recent surveys over members’ financial conditions persisted, said the corporate. CEOs assessed members’ current financial conditions at 5.71 points lower this month than in the December report. CEOs were even more concerned about members’ financial conditions six months from now. Credit unions expressed uncertainty about their own financial condition as well. Credit unions’ current financial condition charted at 42.12 in the April index, down from 49.48 the previous quarter. Their expectation for six months from now also dropped more than 10 points to 35.36. “With all the attention on subprime mortgages, the resultant credit market meltdown and higher energy costs, it shouldn’t be too surprising that both credit union members and CEOs are wary,” said Brian Turner, manager, Southwest Corporate Investment Services advisory service. “Whereas, credit union loan growth is cyclically challenged during the first quarter of each year, the current economic climate certainly is not helping,” he added. “Members are carrying rather high debt loads, and as long as the economy appears weak, they will be more comfortable just maintaining what they have--no new car and no new home for the time being.” Survey responses numbered 222--the highest number of respondents since the survey’s inception--out of 829 CEOs polled, a 27% response rate. For more information, use the link.