ST. LOUIS (9/13/11)--In contrast to area banks, St. Louis credit unions have increased the amount of loans issued during the past two-and-a-half years. As of June 30, there were 44 St. Louis credit unions that had issued $3.46 billion in outstanding loans--$325 million and 10.3% more than loaned at the end of 2008, according to a Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) report (St. Louis Business Journal
Sept. 9). Commercial banks based in St. Louis made 30% fewer loans during the same period--roughly $20 billion during the first half of this year, compared with $30 billion at the end of 2008, the Journal
said. Eight of the 20 biggest St. Louis-area credit unions posted double-digit lending gains during the period. They include:
* Alliance CU, $185 million in assets, based in Fenton, Mo., up 30.2%; * First Community CU, $1.73 billion in assets, based in Chesterfield, Mo., up 14.5%; and * Anheuser-Busch Employees CU, $1.31 billion assets, based in St. Louis, up 10.1%.
Although St. Louis bankers admit their lending is down, they say it is because of regulatory restrictions and a lack of demand, rather than an unwillingness of banks to make loans, the Journal
reported. Banks are often repeating the “mantra” of regulatory tightening and lack of demand, while in reality they are worried about profitability, Mike Beall, president/CEO of the MCUA, told the Journal