LAS VEGAS, Nev. (2/19/09)--Mortgage originations at Nevada credit unions went up 11% last year, bucking the national trend at most U.S. lending institutions during the national economic downturn, said the Nevada Credit Union League. Total mortgage loan activity grew 2.3% during the third quarter. Two forces are behind the growth: Credit unions have more funds, and they are willing to lend, said Daniel Penrod, industry analyst for the league (Las Vegas Review Journal Feb. 18). Credit union lending standards are the same as they have been in the past--whether it be three years ago, five years ago or 10 years ago, Penrod told the Journal. Credit unions didn’t lower their lending standards during the mortgage boom to garner more profits and therefore didn’t experience the troubles associated with more exotic loans that have plagued other institutions, he added. Overall, credit unions are remaining optimistic about growth this year--which will be dependent on whether federal government intervention pushes mortgage rates down, Penrod said. A substantial decline in interest rates could spark the refinancing market and entice new home buyers, he added. Credit unions will continue to see increased lending activity this year because of their conservative lending standards and their ability to accommodate increased demand for lending products, he told the Journal.