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Catalyst Survey: CU CEO Confidence Highest in Six Years
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 6:35 AM

Credit union CEOs appear to be breathing easier, as confidence in the economy climbed to its highest level in 6-1/2 years, according to Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union's First Quarter 2014 Credit Union CEO Confidence Survey. The overall Confidence Index rose more than three points, for the second consecutive quarter, to 30.32 points. This is the first time the Index has topped 30 since third quarter 2007, when it was at 34.27.

In the most recent survey, responses to every question were more positive, an outcome that has not occurred in Catalyst Corporate's survey since late 2008. The biggest jump came in CEO confidence regarding their members' financial condition, at present and six months down the road. Both numbers increased by about 5.5 points over the previous quarter. CEO confidence regarding their own institutions' current and future financial conditions also increased, although at a slower pace, by 2.47 and .95 points, respectively.

In addition, this survey marked the first time in three years that CEOs anticipated growth over the next six months for both loan demand and share deposits.

"We've had a bevy of good economic news over the past few weeks, namely a sizeable drop in the nation's unemployment rate, new historical highs in the stock market and stable consumer prices, including cheaper gas prices," said Brian Turner, director and chief strategist for Catalyst Strategic Solutions. "If anything, these events have given consumers a chance to catch their breath after the economic volatility of the past five years. Credit union managers may be reflecting that sense of relief on the part of their members."

"Hopefully," Turner added, "this latest enthusiasm won't be short-lived, and the recovery will begin to expand enough that member spending will strengthen, and credit unions will experience a more broad-based growth trend in loan demand at higher interest rates."

Catalyst Corporate's quarterly confidence survey, started a decade ago, was sent to 2,022 credit union CEOs across the nation in April 2014; 207 credit union professionals responded, for a response rate of 10.24 percent.

Using a scale ranging from negative (-100) to positive (+100), respondents registered their confidence levels in six key areas to create an overall index, as well as a snapshot of present-day feelings and future expectations. The areas that CEOs were asked to evaluate are:

  • Current financial condition of members
  • Current financial condition of credit union
  • Anticipated financial condition of members in six months
  • Anticipated financial condition of credit union in six months
  • Anticipated loan demand at the credit union in six months
  • Anticipated share deposit growth at the credit union in six months

Additional details, including graphs with the survey’s historical data, are available at www.catalystcorp.org/surveys.aspx.

Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union is a wholesale cooperative financial institution with more than 1,200 capitalizing member credit unions throughout the country. Catalyst Corporate provides its members with core financial services and back-office support, including payments and technology solutions, liquidity, investment options, and balance-sheet management assistance.