RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Altura Credit Union on Wednesday reported $2.95 million in net income during the third quarter of 2014, running its streak of positive earnings to 14 consecutive quarters.

Altura said its net worth ratio at the end of the third quarter was 12.35%, up from 11.68% for the same quarter last year, and an all-time high.

Some of Altura's numbers were down from the previous quarter and from the third quarter of 2013. The Q3 2014 net income figure was less than the $3.82 million Altura made during the second quarter of 2014, and off from $4.29 million reported in the third quarter of 2013.

The CU's total assets declined to $719.9 million in Q3 2014 from $730 million in Q2 of this year. Assets for the just-completed quarter were higher than the same period a year ago, $689.4 million.

Net income for the first nine months of 2014 was $9.83 million. In the first three quarters of 2013 the CU posted $12.7 million in net income, after assessments.

Battling Back From Losses
Altura, along with almost 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.

In January 2014 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.

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.

Local Economy Improving
Altura said the local unemployment rate of 8.2% still lags the national rate of 5.9%, but has recovered from a peak rate of 15.4% in July 2010.

With the release of positive Q3 2014 earnings Mark Hawkins, Altura's president and CEO, said in a prepared statement, "2014 is proving to be another excellent year for Altura as conditions continue to improve in the Inland Empire."

"Our balance sheet is in excellent shape, return on assets is outstanding, loan delinquencies are at near-historic lows, and member loan production continues to move higher as members become more confident and more engaged," he said. "That is very positive news for the region and for Altura."

The CU said loan delinquencies are at levels not seen since 2005: slightly more than $2 million, after climbing to a breathtaking $25 million at the height of the financial crisis.

Other figures continue show signs of a recovery: total loan balances rose 8.33% vs. the same period last year, to $392.2 million, meaning that Altura's members continue to borrow more after tightening their belts post-2008. According to Altura, total loan balances have increased for seven straight months.

The CU singled out auto loans in particular as an area of loan growth, with auto loans rising 38% over the same period from last year.

"Our members are feeling better about the local economy. They are more confident in their prospects and expect conditions to improve from here," said Hawkins. "Households are growing once again, and retail activity, especially the purchase of automobiles, is excellent. All of that bodes well for our communities and for Altura over the next couple of years."

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