Credit unions in the state of Georgia got off to a strong start in 2018.

Savings accounts at CUs in the Peach State increased by 4.1 percent during the first quarter, according to data from the Credit Union National Association, in line with the national average increase of 3.9 percent (but below the 5 percent growth posted in the first quarter of 2017).

Lending grew by 1.7 percent during Q1, versus 1.8 percent nationwide, though Georgia's lending rose by 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Big ticket items led loan growth at Georgia credit unions during Q1. New auto loans increased by 3.6 percent, followed by used auto loans at 3.5 percent. Business lending was up by 2.6 percent, while first mortgages were up 1 percent.

Still, a few loan categories declined. Credit card lending fell by 3.2 percent, while second mortgages declined by 1.2 percent, during the quarter.

Georgia’s unemployment stood at 4.3 percent in the first quarter, a historic low, down from 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017 and 5.4 percent in 2016.

"As financial situations improve for Georgia consumers, they are more inclined to save and build toward future goals,” Georgia Credit Union Affiliates CEO Mike Mercer said in a statement. “And they're feeling confident about taking on the longer term financial responsibility of bigger ticket items. Whether they're saving for college or working toward putting their family into a new home, credit union members know they can trust their credit unions to help them afford life in meaningful ways."

Mike Mercer,  Georgia Credit Union Affiliates
Mike Mercer, CEO, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates

Georgia credit union membership grew by 3.3 percent (on an annualized basis) in the first quarter. Over the past 12 months, Georgia credit unions saw an annualized growth rate of 2.7 percent.

Georgia credit unions now have 2.1 million members, or the equivalent of more than 20 percent of the state's population. Nationwide, credit unions now have 114.1 million memberships – or about 35 percent of the total U.S. population.

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