Membership Growth Slightly Faster in Last Year; Loans Grew at Fastest Rate in 17 Years According to Callahan & Associates.

 WASHINGTON—The rate of credit union membership growth during 2021 was slightly better than that of 2020, while lending grew at its fastest pace in 17 years, according to Callahan & Associates.

The company shared the insights on the addition of more than 4.8-million new members (3.8% growth) last year  and other data points during a recent quarterly Trendwatch webinar.

Among the other key highlights from the Callahan & Associates’ analysis:

Annual Loans Growing At Fastest Rate In 17 Years

For the first time since 2019, the rate at which annual loans have grown has outpaced the growth of shares, the company said.

“Loan growth rose to 11.7%, up over 7% from last year’s growth. The loan portfolio is currently growing at the fastest annual rate since 2005,” Callahan’s reported. “Share growth slowed to 9.3%, down from the extraordinary 23.1% growth rate seen in the prior year.”

Credit unions are also keeping more loans on their balance sheet, according to the Callahan analysis, while members are paying down loans at a slower rate and credit unions are “not as quick to sell loans to the secondary market.”

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Consumer Loan Originations Up Significantly

Callahan’s reported consumers and small businesses continued to turn to credit unions during the first quarter of 2022. “Non-real estate consumer loan originations are up 11% from the year prior, while commercial loan growth is up 20%,” its analysis noted. “These trends signify the increasing impact that credit unions have for the small businesses within their community.”

Average Member Relationship Continues To Grow

In a trend that has continued for the better part of a decade, Callahan’s said the average loans per member and shares per member rose once more.

Thus, the average member relationship grew by $1,296 from Q1 ’21 to Q1 ’22, according to Callahan’s.

“The increased growth in this category highlights the bonds between credit unions and their members. The ACT Model was referenced in regard to this metric,” Callahan’s reported. “The ACT Model empowers credit unions to respond to member needs by Acknowledging their concerns, Confirming their needs, and Taking action.”

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