VANCOUVER, B.C. (3/23/10)--Central 1 CU, the central financial facility and trade association for credit unions in British Columbia and Ontario, reported its net income jumped 275% last year to $99.9 million from $26.6 million in 2008. Assets rose 29.2% to $11.1 billion at year-end 2009 from $8.6 billion the same period a year ago. The gains reflected significant growth in the liquidity of Central 1's member credit unions, Central 1 said in a press release. Return on equity was 19.6%, compared with 7.7% in 2008. "In the first full year of combined operation since the B.C. and Ontario credit union centrals merged in mid-2008, Central 1 performed very strongly," said Don Rolfe, president/CEO. "These results were achieved in a climate of market volatility and difficult economic conditions," he added. Central 1 took advantage of opportunities arising from an unusual combination of events in the financial markets, including declining interest rates and shrinking credit spreads. This resulted in mark-to-market gains in its holdings of financial instruments, which are mostly government and high-grade corporate bonds. The strong results for the year enabled Central 1 to pay a dividend of 10% on top of regular dividends of 2%. After taxes and dividends, Central 1 transferred $74 million into retained earnings, which totaled $262 million at year-end. It has a total capital of $551 million and a ration of regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets of 34.5%.