PLANO, Texas - While many analysts are feeling optimistic about the economy and what's ahead in 2011, credit union CEOs apparently aren't joining them.

CEO confidence-especially at the largest CUs--hovered in the depths at the end of the year, just as it did in the beginning of 2010, according to the Southwest Corporate CEO Confidence Survey.

The overall confidence index held at just 11.21 for the fourth quarter, up slightly from the 10.97 of the third quarter, and the record low of just 7.90 for the first quarter of 2009. In comparison, the confidence index was above 40 in 2005 and 2006.

CEOs continue to express significant concerns about both their members' and their credit unions' financial condition, both now and in the future, according to the quarterly survey. In addition, their projections for loan demand fell to zero, a new low, while predictions for share growth continued to surge.

The survey found CEOs in the largest credit unions, those with more than $500 million in assets, were the most pessimistic, a negative 8.33; CEOs in credit unions $100 million to $500 million were the next most pessimistic, negative 6.25; while CEOs in smaller credit unions were more positive. Those in $50 million to $100 million were positive .61; those $10 million to $50 million positive 4.07 and those $2 million to $10 million were at zero.

CEOs in the West and the Northwest showed the lowest confidence, a negative 15; while CEOs in the mid-Atlantic region are very confident of short-term prospects, positive 25. The Southeast showed a positive 1.11; in the Midwest a positive 14.29 and in the Southwest a positive 2.01.

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