WASHINGTON (9/29/09)--Credit unions in the Washington, D.C., area posted “stellar” earnings in the second quarter, mostly due to substantial refunds from the federal government, the Washington Business Journal said Friday. Local credit unions’ median net income shot up 860% from a year ago to $155,728--and up from a first-quarter loss of $100,637. Also, median assets at credit unions went up 49% from a year ago to $46.2 million, leading to 20% growth in median loan portfolios from year ago to $25.2 million, according to a Journal analysis of second-quarter data from the National Credit Union Administration. The refunds came about after federal regulators changed the way credit unions would be charged to replenish the National Credit Union Shared Insurance Fund, the Journal said. Originally, credit unions were required to pay the entire expense in one year, but new legislation allows them to spread out payments over seven years. As a result of the change, credit unions that had paid most or all of the stabilization expense in one year, received a substantial portion of that money back through refunds in the second quarter, said the Journal. The refunds helped 83% of the 128 locally based credit unions move into profitability for the second quarter--a marked improvement from the first quarter when only 24% posted a profit. That indicates credit unions are doing the right thing and continuing to lend during the credit crunch, Mike Beall, CEO of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association, told the Journal.