COLUMBUS, Ga. (4/30/09)--Consumers don't have to wait until banks ease credit to get a loan in Georgia. There are plenty of credit unions who can meet their needs, says an article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (April 29). A report released by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates Tuesday shows the state's 170 credit unions approved 12,000 more loans in 2008, than in 2007. The number of loans approved rose to 360,000 from 348,000, said the paper. In 2008, the credit unions combined loaned $4 billion, down from $4.1 billion the year before. The average loan amount dipped to $11,029 from $11,874. Eric Jenkins, senior vice president of growth services at the affiliates, told the newspaper that during 2008, credit unions have few mortgage applications and car loans and more personal consumer loans. MEA FCU, Columbus, noted that it saw smaller loans last year, but more of them. Members are reluctant to borrow because of fears about jobs, said CEO Polly Bell. The credit union's capital-reserve level is at 18%. In the state, credit unions' average capital reserve rate stands at 14%, well above the 7% minimum required by regulators.