GROWING LOANS: FIND YOUR DIRECTION
updated 01/17/14 01:09 PM
Room to Expand in Mortgages
The most common concern expressed at almost any gathering of credit union executives for more than a year has been sluggish loan growth, according to Dwight Johnston, chief economist for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.
He notes there are certainly some exceptions to this, but the overall tone of comments is confirmed by a historically low loan-to-share ratio in California and Nevada. Loan volume has not fallen, but overall loan portfolios have grown by only 1.5 percent from late 2012 to late 2013.
“California and Nevada credit unions do a very good job at generating mortgage loans,” he writes in the latest edition of Credit Union Digest. “In fact, mortgage originations by credit unions in our two states have exceeded the national average by a fair margin.”
But mortgage loan portfolios are virtually flat. During the refinance boom earlier this year, most credit unions opted to package and sell the mortgages rather than take on interest rate risk since rates are at record lows. It looks like a very good decision in hindsight.
However, putting cautious interest rate decisions aside, most credit unions simply couldn’t afford more exposure to real estate this past year.