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The Journal Record: Full Throttle for CUs
Friday, March 14, 2014 7:00 AM

Two Oklahoma credit union executives were featured in The Journal Record March 6 online and March 7 in print. Reporter Brian Brus tells readers that Oklahoma credit unions reported better membership and loan growth than much of the country last year. Referring to the latest data from the National Credit Union Administration, Brus noted that Oklahoma credit unions ranked fifth in loan growth, with a 12-percent year-over-year increase. He also pointed out that Oklahoma placed in the top 10 states for membership growth at 4.3 percent.

FAA CU President Steve Rasmussen attributes the strong numbers in Oklahoma primarily to automobile lending and the state’s lead in recession recovery. Interest rates have been at historical lows, he tells Brus. Rasmussen did express concerns that new federal regulations in mortgage reporting might hurt some of that momentum this year.

“Some credit unions have seen hefty gains in the mortgage market, with people buying homes or refinancing in a better economy,” Rasmussen tells The Journal Record readers. “All the new regulations that are affecting community banks are also affecting us, and they kicked into place in January. The regulations have been sinking into place, but 2013 was a much simpler year than we’re going to see in 2014.”

Gary Jones, president of the Oklahoma Credit Union Association, tells Brus he’s confident that growth in lending will continue to be strong this year.

“Oklahoma did not enjoy the benefits of the housing bubble, nor did we suffer the consequences of that, so a lot of the numbers you’re seeing is in an environmental advantage,” he tells Brus. “But also, our business and service model is a little bit different from banks…and all the external factors in the economy have enable us to demonstrate those difference.”