RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Altura Credit Union on Friday reported $11.6 million in net income for 2014 — its 15th consecutive quarter of positive earnings and fourth straight year of "solid" financial performance.

Altura said its net worth ratio at the end of 2014 was 11.96%, up from 11.63% one year earlier.

The CU earned $11.1 million in 2013. Its assets grew from $678.8 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2013, to $757.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2014.

Loan delinquencies declined to just $2.02 million, which the CU noted compares "very favorably" to delinquency totals of $25 million at the height of the recession.

Membership remained steady at 82,460 members.

Mark Hawkins, Altura's CEO, said the CU "enjoyed another excellent year in 2014."

"What has been most encouraging is the ongoing increase in member lending activity," Hawkins said in a statement. "Clearly, our members are feeling much more confident in the economy than they have over the past several years. We are thrilled to see these continued improvements in member confidence; improvements that are evident in our daily interactions with members and in our posted financial results."

This "robust member confidence" was most apparent in automobile lending, especially the financing of new car purchases, according to Hawkins. In the past 12 months, Altura's new vehicle loan balances increased 83.2%. Over the same time period, used car loan balances were higher by 24%. Altura's total loan balances rose by 13.14% in 2014, the highest year-over-year increase since 2008.

"Because of our solid production, loan balances have grown for each of the past 11 months," he said. "This is our longest streak of positive loan production since 2006."

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.

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.

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