RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (12/31/08)--California credit unions are bucking the trend with mortgage loan portfolios growing to nearly $54 billion during third quarter, according to a report from the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Daniel Penrod, industry analyst for the leagues, noted that California credit unions’ mortgage lending ballooned to $53.9 billion in mortgage assets as of Sept. 30--an increase of $1 billion over mortgage assets a year earlier(SignOnSanDiego.com Dec. 30). The assets were up even though mortgage originations declined during third quarter to 13,753 loans from 21,562 loans the year before. Year-to-date, originations totaled 71,266, compared with 78,066 for the first three quarters of 2007, he said. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) saw the most significant changes for California’s credit unions. ARMs declined by 50.6% from a year earlier to 267 for third quarter 2008. HELOCs were down 45.6% to 8,225, while fixed-rate loans were down 10.9% to 5,261. Penrod reported that for the current quarter, credit unions have less mortgage business because consumers are pulling back and avoiding large purchases in the uncertain economy. But in 2009, interest rates could drop to 2% to 3% and spark more buying and refinancing. The newspaper also featured comments from Steve Volle, president of Members Loan Services Inc., which assists seven San Diego-based credit unions. He noted credit unions deliver better terms and lower rates that commercial banks do. But some people with non-credit union mortgages may not be able to refinance loans they should not have had in the first place. He estimated credit unions have gone from 1%-2% of the mortgage business to 3% or 4% in the area. For the full article, use the link.