RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Altura Credit Union on Tuesday reported $2.1 million in net income for the second quarter — stretching its streak of consecutive quarters of positive earnings to 17.

In Q1 Altura had $2.34 million in net income.

Total assets continue to rise, to $804.3 million as of June 30. Altura's total assets were $799.3 million at the end of Q1 and $757.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2014.

Likewise continuing upward momentum was Altura's net worth ratio, which reached 11.81% on June 30. That is up compared to Q2 2014 (11.76%), as well as Q1 2015 (11.62%).

Mark Hawkins, Altura's president and CEO, said in a prepared statement the CU is "having an excellent year," thanks in no small part to loan demand that is "robust."

Altura said its loan balances were higher by 19.7% for the year ended June 30, 2015, compared to the previous 12-month period. In addition, loan balances were up 5.4% in Q2 alone.

"These are very positive signs and they highlight the region's recovery," Hawkins said. "The recent recession really took its toll on the Inland Empire. Altura endured 61 consecutive months of declining loan balances before the pain stopped. Now, the evidence is clear that member households are recovering and confidence is being restored. As a result, we are in the midst of 16 consecutive months of rising loan balances. It has been quite a turnaround," he added.

Altura said its loan balances totaled nearly $800 million before dropping steadily during the "Great Recession." Recent trending has been up, as loan balances grew to $448 million as of June 30.

"Consumer lending has remained strong since early 2014, particularly in new and used automobiles. Plus, we are seeing improved performance in real estate lending and member business lending, too," Hawkins said.

Merger On Track

Looking ahead, Altura said its previously announced merger with Visterra Credit Union has been "moving along well," and is expected to close on Aug. 1. The two CUs say their merger will create the largest credit union in the Inland Empire, with total assets of approximately $1.15 billion and 120,000 members.

The conversion of the credit unions' core operating systems will not be complete until March 1, 2016. In the meantime, Hawkins reported, "integration efforts will continue as we focus on boosting efficiencies and increasing value for our members. We are excited about the future."

Digging Out

Altura, along with every other financial institution in the "Inland Empire" region of Southern California, east of Los Angeles, suffered terrible losses during the recession due to widespread unemployment and plummeting home values. At the end of 2007 it had more than $1 billion in assets, but then lost $13.7 million in 2008, $20.1 million in 2009 and $5.8 million in 2010.

The turnaround began in 2011, when it reported net income of $8.4 million after $1.5 million in assessments. In 2012 Altura had net income of $17.4 million after paying $589,000 in assessments.

Altura CU said it had net income of $11.18 million in 2013 — making 2011-2013 the best three-year period in the credit union's history.

It had $11.6 million in net income for full year 2014.

Altura's net worth ratio was 8.13% at the end of 2007, but dipped to as low as 5.61% ("undercapitalized") in December 2009 before rebounding.

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