Georgia's Credit Unions Closed Out 2016 on a Strong Note

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Georgia's credit unions capped off 2016 with a strong fourth quarter to close out another solid year, wherein the number of total loans grew by 3.2 percent in the final quarter (12.6 percent annualized).
Trending as they did throughout the year, all categories of loans experienced positive growth in the fourth quarter. Credit cards led the way in the last quarter of the year, growing by 5.3 percent (21.2 percent annualized). Second mortgages grew 4.9 percent during the quarter (19.6 percent annualized) and first mortgages recorded a 4.2 percent (16.8 percent annualized) gain. Meanwhile, business loans were up 3.5 percent (14.2 percent annualized), used vehicle loans increased 2.3 percent during the quarter (9.4 percent annualized), new vehicle loans were up 2.2 percent (8.7 percent annualized) and other types of unsecured loans rounded out the fourth quarter with growth of 1.7 percent (6.6 percent annualized).    
Georgia's unemployment rate has fluctuated a bit, but continues to be low, closing out the fourth quarter with rate of 5.4 percent.
Fewer Georgia credit union borrowers are filing for bankruptcy, with a 2.3 percent decrease from a year ago.
"Many consumers are feeling the overall positive benefits from the economic conditions across our state, and they are seeing positive benefits to credit union membership," noted Mike Mercer, President/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, the state's trade association for credit unions. "People want to build their businesses, upgrade their homes and replace their cars, and they see that credit unions are their best partners to help them afford life and make those things happen."
As seen in the chart below, Georgia credit unions continue to offer their members substantial advantages on a variety of loans.

The current average rate on a 4-year new automobile loan at the state's credit unions now averages 1.35 percentage points lower than the comparable rate at the state's other financial institutions. The average Georgia consumer can save more than $800 on a $30,000 new vehicle loan over the course of the loan's life.
In the face of a continued low interest rate environment, savings balances at Georgia's credit unions increased modestly during the last quarter of 2016, rising 0.2 percent (0.9 percent annualized) and finishing the year up 7.2 percent. Credit union members focused on short-term liquid savings accounts, with money market accounts growing by 1.6 percent (6.4 percent annualized), share drafts growing 0.4 percent (1.6 percent annualized), and regular shares increasing by 0.4 percent (1.5 percent annualized).  On the other hand, certificates fell by 1.3 percent (5.1 percent annualized) and IRA/Keogh accounts decreased by 0.9 percent (3.7 percent annualized) in the quarter ended December 2016.
Total memberships in the state's credit unions reached 2.2 million, growing 2.9 percent during the year.