Georgia Credit Union Affiliates announced that credit unions in the state finished 2017 with “strong loan growth aided by near cyclical highs in U.S. consumer confidence,” according to data collected by the Credit Union National Association.
Lending at Georgia credit unions grew by 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 – eclipsing the 1.5 percent rate from the third quarter of 2017, but falling short of the 3.2 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Lending grew by 8.8 percent at Georgia credit unions for all of 2017, somewhat behind the 10 percent growth credit unions experienced nationally.
GCUA also said that holiday spending pushed credit balances upward in Georgia, which contributed to that loan growth in the fourth quarter. In fact, holiday spending in 2017 propelled credit card loan growth to 6.0 percent for the quarter, surpassing the 5.3 percent bump in the final quarter of 2016.
However, on a year-over-year basis, new automobile lending showed the most growth at Georgia credit unions, gaining 11.4 percent for the year. Used car loans and first mortgages grew by 7.8 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.
Second mortgages grew by 5.9 percent and credit cards by 3.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.
Georgia credit unions finished 2017 with 0.76 percent return on average assets, slightly higher than the 0.75 percent from the prior year.
GCUA also said that Georgia credit union members continue to save money with their credit unions, with savings balances growing by 4.3 percent annually during 2017.
Georgia’s credit union memberships grew 0.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017, with memberships totaling more than 2.1 million – or about 20 percent of the state's entire population.
"Georgia credit union members are still making big purchases, including cars and homes," said Mike Mercer, president and CEO of GCUA. "Even as the economy improves, we know not everyone feels the same level of optimism and security. Members know they can continue to rely on their credit union to afford life, regardless of their personal circumstances."