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Wis DFI: FIs' Health 'Good News For Wisconsin Economy'
MADISON, Wis. (4/8/13)--Wisconsin's state-chartered credit unions and banks are a bright spot in the state's economy and are well-positioned to help fuel the state's economic growth, according to Peter Bildsten, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

He cited two improvements in the financial institutions the past two years:  earnings have rebounded, with credit unions' net income growing 81% in 2012 over 2011, and banks' earnings up 53%; and capital is back to pre-recession levels with credit unions' net worth  as of Dec. 31 at  10.25%--"the best in five years"--and banks at their highest in decade--at 11.12%.

"Banks and credit unions are a key component of the state's private-sector economic engine," Bildsten said in a press release. "These institutions make loans to help businesses expand and create more jobs. They help drive the real-estate market by originating mortgages, allowing people to achieve the dream of owning their own home. They provide products and services that give consumers access to credit and allow them to better manage their money."

The institutions "are eager to lend," he said. "Loan standards have changed somewhat since the recession, but that is not necessarily bad. In order to survive, banks and credit unions have to make loans, but in order to thrive, they must make good loans."

Credit unions in the state and throughout the country are working so that they can continue helping the economy through making loans to small businesses. The Credit Union National Association, the state leagues, and credit unions are urging Congress to raise credit unions member business lending cap from the current 12.25% of assets to 27.5% of assets.

This would enable credit unions to make more small business loans and inject $14.5 billion in new loans into the economy, says CUNA.  It also would help generate 158,000 new jobs the first year the raise would go into effect.


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