DULUTH, Ga. (9/24/13)--Strong job growth and a rebounding housing market continue to drive consumer spending in Georgia, according to a recent report by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates.
The report showed robust automobile demand statewide, with new-auto loans at Georgia credit unions increasing 6.8% in the first half of the 2013, and used-auto loans rising 5.5% for the same period.
That persistent growth in vehicle loans reflects the state's steadily improving economy, which recently added 40,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and observed a 4% rise in average home prices during first quarter 2013--the most recent data available from the Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase-only index.
"Jobs and housing prices are both key factors in lifting consumer confidence," said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. "As we see those conditions return to pre-recession levels, we expect lending at Georgia credit unions to expand as well."
GCUA compiled savings and lending data for the quarterly report from June 2012 to June 2013 at 43 credit unions statewide, representing 94% of credit union assets and 88% of members in Georgia.
While automobile financing led the way in consumer spending, the report also displayed a solid overall increase in overall loans at Georgia credit unions. For the first half of 2013, total loan balances were up 2.9%, and second-mortgage loans jumped by 4.4%.
Also, the report reaffirmed Georgia credit unions' traditionally lower interest rates on loans. "These substantial savings advantages continue to fuel growth at Georgia credit unions," said Mercer.
Total membership at the state's credit unions grew by 1.8% in the first half of 2013 and by 2.6% in the year ending June 2013.