ATLANTA (4/7/10)--Georgia credit union members saved almost $130 million in 2009 from higher interest rates on savings accounts, fewer fees on credit cards and lower interest rates on loans, according to the latest tracking index from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA). The state’s statistics reflect the national trend, said the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Georgia credit unions last year provided almost $130 million in direct benefits to the state’s 1.8 million credit union members--or $74 per member and $141 per member household--compared with other Georgia banking institutions. Also, interest rates for a number of loan options remained lower in 2009 for credit union members (PRNewswire
April 6). CUNA’s Economics and Statistics department estimates that credit unions provided nearly $7.3 billion in direct financial benefits to the nation’s roughly 90 million members during the 12 months ending in December. These benefits are equivalent to an average of $81 per member or $154 per member household. Credit union per-member and per-household benefits are substantial, CUNA said. The total benefits provided are divided across all members--or all member households--even those who conduct very little financial business with credit unions. High-use or loyal members households that use a broad range of credit union services save much more on average, CUNA said. The Georgia Credit Union Benefits Index--based on data collected during December 2009--is the latest installment of an ongoing report updated on a semiannual basis. The report--which uses data compiled from more than 160 Georgia credit unions and banking institutions from Datatrac, a rate survey firm--serves as a metric to help Georgia consumers make more informed personal financial decisions. “Credit union usage continues to translate into substantial savings for Georgians,” said Michael Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. “Many Georgia consumers are switching to credit unions because savings are funneled back directly to our members, providing a direct and positive impact to their wallets. The index also reinforces that the total financial benefit of being part of a credit union is even more substantial to members who use them for multiple financial needs.” The Georgia report also found that:
* Credit unions granted more than 352,000 loans to Georgians in 2009, compared with 368,000 in 2008; * Loans granted totaled more than $4.3 billion in 2009, compared with $4 billion in 2008; * While the number of loans granted decreased from 2008 to 2009, the average loan amount was slightly higher in 2009--$12,235 in 2009, compared with $11,029 in 2008; * The majority of loans generated by credit unions were for consumer purchases, especially for used vehicles, but also for new vehicles, home mortgages, home equity lines of credit and credit cards; * Lower average interest rates on loans issued by Georgia credit unions saved members a total of $53.3 million compared with bank rates; * Higher interest rates on savings products yielded $42.2 million to credit union members’ accounts compared with banks. * Fewer and lower fees for credit union members totaled $34.3 million in savings benefits compared with banks.
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