DULUTH, Ga. (8/20/10)--Georgia consumers are growing more confident about the economy but are keeping a tight hold on their wallets, according to a Georgia Credit Union and Affiliates (GCUA) survey from 162 credit unions in the state. The credit unions placed links on their websites for members to respond to the survey. The questions focused on spending, savings habits, retirement and their feelings about the economy. Only credit union members were involved in the study. Roughly 53% of 6,000 accountholders the organization surveyed said they expect to be in better financial shape a year from now. About 17% said they didn’t expect their financial situation to improve, while 31% didn’t know (The August Chronicle Aug. 19). Credit card balances have decreased by 2%, and new-vehicle borrowing has dropped 9%. Used-card lending rose 9%, the survey found. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the economy, said Mike Mercer, GCUA president. A lot of people are doing “okay” and building security, but some have neighbors or family members who are out of work, he added. Fifty percent of respondents said they could make it just three months or less on their savings, while 26% said they had no savings cushion if they became unemployed. Three out of four consumers aid they will remain focused on building their nest egg than making major purchases. Those planning a major purchase said it would be for home improvements--56% said they would use cash from savings rather than a credit card or loan, the newspaper said. Mercer also warned retailers to be cautious about Christmas-season orders. The Georgians surveyed didn’t indicate they would spend more money anytime soon--including holiday purchases.