HARTFORD, Conn. (8/9/11)--Connecticut's credit unions held $4.33 billion in loans at the end of March, down slightly from a year ago, but their loan quality remains strong and their loan underwriting standards have not changed, according to the Connecticut League of Credit Unions. Industry-wide capital ratios are nearly 10%, well-above what regulators require, and Connecticut's credit unions are in "outstanding shape considering the financial earthquake that hit a few years ago," said Tony Emerson, president/CEO of the league, in an article in HartfordBusiness.com (Aug.8). Delinquencies held by Connecticut's credit unions declined 8.4% the past year, and credit unions have set aside plenty of reserves to cover any potential bad loans in the future, said Emerson. According to data from the National Credit Union Administration, lending at the state's credit unions is down 1% from the same period in 2010 and 3% from 2010. Nearly every type of loan saw a decline, except first mortgages, which increased 9% from last year to $1.6 billion. As in other states, new-auto loans declined as consumers held off making big purchases until the job market improves. Connecticut credit unions hold $268 million, compared with last year's $366 million. Emerson told the publication that consumers stop borrowing money when the economy has problems. The decline in new loans means credit unions have less earnings capacity, he said. Hartford (Conn.) FCU President/CEO Ed Danek told the publication that the industry has done a good job of counterbalancing the impact of a difficult operating environment. He anticipates net income for 2011 will rise 300% compared with 2010, largely through improved credit quality and operating efficiencies.