Stop Honking and Cook Bankers’ Christmas Goose


Third-quarter figures for federally insured credit unions this week were welcome news and the result of a lot of hard work by credit union professionals around the country. Certainly not a gift, though we all appreciate those (iPad2, please), but something to savor because you’ve earned it.

Credit unions can certainly ring out the jingle bells over their third-quarter figures. Loans grew 1.6%, and the NCUA reported six straight quarters of loan growth. Despite still historically high share growth, the loan-to-share ratio nationally increased to 68.4%, roughly a percentage point below last year’s close but not the meteoric 7, 4 and 3 percentage point plummets, respectively in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Now for an industry-wide New Year’s resolution, clean and jerk that ratio right up over its head – just like you’ll be pumping up your biceps with your new gym membership.

Private student loans jumped nearly 13% in the third quarter, tallying a 38% annualized increase. Student lending is a great way to attract younger members, learning from them and engaging them with your credit union and its other products will help credit unions remain relevant in a world that no longer requires anyone to have any relationship with any traditional financial institution.

The Cooperative Trust’s Brent Dixon wrote an excellent blog for the CU Water Cooler recently highlighting exactly how the generation born into this modern world can fulfill all of their financial needs without financial institutions. A scary thought, but these are exciting times we live in. One concern of course with the student loans is whether this bubble will pop like a party balloon, particularly if unemployment continues its agonizingly slow improvement.

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