COLUMBUS, Ohio (4/30/10)--Consumers' flight to safety shows up in the 2009 statistics for Ohio's credit unions. The state's credit unions are well-capitalized at 11.7% of assets--higher than banks and thrifts around the state and nationally, said the Ohio Credit Union Quarterly Performance Summary. Nearly all the economic indicators for financial institutions saw growth. Loans and deposits increased more than $600 million and $1.8 billion respectively from Dec. 31, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2009. Membership increased nearly 30,000 for that time. "2009 was a banner year for our credit unions, and every indication is that this growth will continue," said Paul Mercer, president of the Ohio Credit Union League. "Many factors contributed to our success, but the anti-banking sentiment among consumers and their eagerness to invest in a community-based financial institution were important drivers," he said. "Our credit unions also impressed upon new and existing members the empowerment that comes with becoming an owner of your institution, not just a customer," Mercer added. Credit unions in the state totaled $12.4 billion in loans at year-end 2009. Auto lending continued to be a driving force behind loan growth, with market share growing from 12.4% in December. 2008 to 17.1% in December 2009. The credit unions also saw an 11.2% increase in member business lending for that period. A number of credit union members took advantage of historic low 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates to refinance their homes. First mortgage originations in 2009 in Ohio totaled $1.66 billion versus $1.1 billion in 2008--an increase of 51.3%. First mortgages outstanding grew 4.2% to $23.95 billion, all despite a continued weaker than usual housing market, said the league. Total delinquency rose to 1.42% in December, up 0.10% during the 12-month period. However, Ohio credit unions remain below the Ohio bank delinquency average of 3.26%, the league noted. The average Ohio credit union has 6,748 members, $51.82 million in assets, and $31.73 million in loans. Ohio credit unions employ more than 6,800 Ohioans and contribute nearly $140 million in compensation to employees annually, according to the most recent quarterly financial report.