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CUNA Estimates Capture Historic Credit Union Growth
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:30 AM

Credit Union National Association reports that credit union memberships in 2014, the year in which the credit union movement surpassed the 100-million-memberships milestone, rose at the fastest pace in more than two decades. Over the course of the 12-month period, memberships climbed by 3.6 percent, the highest rate since the 3.7 percent posted in 1994.

"Credit unions truly had a banner year, as 2014 marked a time that credit unions experienced exceptional growth, something that hasn't been seen in two decades," said Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO. "I'm proud of the credit union movement, its growing membership--from 100 million in August to 102 million to close out the year—and the fact that more Americans are choosing credit unions as their best financial partner."

Loan portfolios also posted a solid calendar year in 2014.

Credit union loans outstanding rose by 10.2 percent during the 12-month period, the fastest jump since 2005 when loans expanded by 10.7 percent.

Roughly 16.5 million new vehicles were sold in 2014, a 5.8 percent increase over the 2013 number, according to numbers from AutoData, and it appears many purchases were financed through credit unions.

"Credit unions' new and used auto loan portfolios expanded 20.7 percent and 12.1 percent respectively in 2014, surpassing the 12.6 percent and 10.4 percent growth rates in 2013," said Perc Pineda, CUNA senior economist.

Fixed-mortgage, adjustable-mortgage, and home-equity loans posted gains of 6.7 percent, 14.1 percent and 7.2 percent respectively for the year, while other loans (13.7 percent), unsecured-personal loans (10.5 percent) and credit card loans (7 percent) also posted healthy gains.

In December alone, both memberships and loan portfolios recorded upswings in growth.

After a 0.3 percent increase in November, credit union memberships climbed by 0.46 percent, while loan portfolios climbed 0.71 percent in December, a bit faster than November's 0.61 percent.

Credit unions also continue to maintain a consistent asset quality, according to Pineda. The loan delinquency rate in December came in at 0.82 percent.

"Against the backdrop of better economic conditions—positive output growth, rising personal income, falling unemployment, and increasing consumer confidence—competitive rates will ensure more lending at credit unions in 2015," Pineda said. "CUNA's baseline forecast calls for loan portfolios to jump 11 percent this year, eclipsing 2014 results."