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Columbia CU growth rate above nations
VANCOUVER, Wash. (3/9/12)--Despite a lagging economy that caused some Vancouver, Wash.-area financial institutions to struggle, Columbia CU posted growth that was above the national averages for 2011, said the credit union.

The $815 million asset credit union saw increases in assets, loans and income over the previous year, and passed national averages in categories such as savings and checking growth, loan originations and membership, said a press release from the $815 million asset credit union.

Columbia's savings accounts and checking accounts each increased 24%, compared with the 11.3% savings and  2.2% checking national growth. Its loan originations for the year rose at nearly twice the national rate, with member business lending  (MBL) originations growing 128% over its MBLs in 2010.

Like many of the nation's credit unions, Columbia's membership rose, with its highest yearly levels in October and November. It posted a net increase of 7.4% over 2010.  The credit union attributed its growth to the additional media attention generated by Bank Transfer Day and an increased awareness of local financial institutions.

"We're actively seeking ways to welcome new members and show them how a Columbia membership can benefit their finances," said Columbia President/CEO Steve Kenny. He attributed Columbia's growth largely to "the underlying credit union principle of 'people helping people,'" and noted that one of Columbia's core values is "making life better."

Additional milestones for 2011 included:

  • Loan growth. Columbia ranked as the No. 1 Clark County vehicle lender. It also surpassed Chase and US Bank in mortgage lending, ranking as the No. 1 mortgage lender in November and No. 2 in December.
  • Deposit growth. The credit union was the top Clark County deposit holder, surpassing the largest deposit holder--Chase Bank--by $20 million.
  • Capital strength.  Columbia maintained capital levels over 9% for the past five years, well above the 7% regulators define as "well-capitalized."
  • Community support.  Management staff volunteered more than 1,200 hours to local organizations and helped raise nearly $2.9 million for area nonprofits.  It received the 2011 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Corporate Community Support for helping nonprofits.


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