RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/30/08)--The California credit union industry continues to experience sound growth, even amid the turmoil in the broader financial services sector, according to a recently released report by the California Credit Union League (CCUL). The CCUL’s Westscan Update--its 2007 third-quarter economic activity report for the state’s 518 credit unions--is authored by Terrin Mendivil and Daniel Penrod, industry analysts in the league’s Research and Information Department. Though the state’s credit unions are maintaining their solid financial footing, they are not completely insulated from the overall economy, which continues to feel the heavy drag from the housing and credit crunch, the report said. Among the report’s major findings:
* Total asset growth continued for California’s credit unions with a year-to-date gain of 3.28%, for an annualized 4.39% increase; * Investment growth increased with California credit unions growing their portfolio by 2.96% year-to-date, for an annualized gain of 3.97%; and * California credit unions reversed a four-year trend of declining membership growth, signing up 150,225 new members through the end of September 2007.
The league is monitoring national economic situations that will affect credit unions. The report predicts:
* Credit unions will experience more loan losses, but the recent easing by the Federal Reserve should take some pressure off borrowers with home equity lines and credit card debt. They will still realize losses from foreclosure or job loss; * With lending standards tighter in the marketplace, credit unions are well-positioned to attract new members. Competition for shares, though, should remain fierce. Visibility will be critical in 2008. * Economic activity is on track to decelerate in 2008 and pick up modestly in 2009; * Modest job gains are anticipated in some sectors, but housing-related industries along with the manufacturing, finance and retail sectors, will shed even more employees; and * Long-term interest rates should decline in 2008 as short-term rates move lower. The league anticipates the return of a steeper yield curve, which should help earnings. The weakness in the dollar could generate inflationary concern.