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Southeastern CUs growth trends up
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/14/12)--Alabama and Florida credit unions saw positive growth in assets, membership and lending--including member business lending (MBL) during 2011, according to the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU).

Alabama and Florida credit unions added $2.7 billion in assets in 2011 from 2010. That includes $1.3 billion added in the fourth quarter.

Membership rose in the fourth quarter with southeastern credit unions adding 34,000 new members for a total of 110,000 new members between the states for 2011--75,000 new members in Florida, the largest gain in more than five years, and 35,000 in Alabama, the largest gain in four years.

"When we look at the membership and asset numbers for 2011, it's certainly some of the best we've seen in years," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "The membership numbers are most likely higher for credit union members that are using a credit union for their primary financial institution. Through our Image Campaign research, we found many people moved their money from a bank to a credit union after already having a savings account or loan with the credit union."

Florida credit unions grew their MBL portfolios by 2.6% in the fourth quarter and 2% for 2011 year over year, while Alabama credit unions grew their MBLs by 2.7% for 2011 year over year.

Delinquent loans in Alabama fell for the second consecutive year and remain below the national average. In Florida, delinquent loans remain above the national average, but have fallen for two straight years and are under 3% for the first time in four years. Net charge-offs are at a five-year low in Alabama and well below the national average. Net charge-offs in Florida dropped for the third straight year.

In 2011, Alabama credit union members' savings grew at a two-year high of 9.7%--nearly twice the national credit union average and more than 4% higher than 2010. In Florida, credit union member savings grew nearly 3%--an improvement from 2010 when credit union member savings growth was flat.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.


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