COLUMBUS, Ohio (7/10/09)--More than 20,000 new members were added to the rosters of Ohio credit unions between March 2008 and March 2009, according to the Ohio Credit Union Quarterly Performance Summary. It's the first membership gain in the state since 2004. The new membership is a strong indication that the economy is causing many Ohioans to review their finances, said the Ohio Credit Union League. In addition, credit union assets and lending continued their steady growth, posting gains of 8.11% and 8.26%, respectively, during that period. "Credit unions have the capital to work individually with our members to help them manage financial stress and, in many cases, have modified existing loans to ease income losses or other financial hardships. That makes us attractive to Ohioans," said Paul Mercer, league president. The average Ohio credit union capitalization level is at 11.7%, the report said. Regulators consider credit unions well-capitalized at or above 7%. The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) "Benefits of Membership" report notes that Ohioans receiving their financial services from an Ohio credit union are benefiting financially. The report--which compares Ohio credit union and bank dividend rates, interest rates and transaction fees--notes credit unions provided more than $184 million in direct financial benefits to the state's members last year. That equals $71 per member and $135 per household. Other first-quarter indicators for the state's 407 credit unions:
* Mortgage originations rose 63.6% during the quarter; * Auto lending market share more than doubled--to 18.1%; * Asset quality remained strong despite a pickup in delinquencies (1.28%) . The delinquency rate of the state's credit unions remains below the national average and that of state banks.
Membership in Ohio credit unions totals 2.64 million. The average credit union has 6,369 members, nearly $47.5 million assets and $29.2 million in loans. They employ more than 6,800 people and contribute nearly $140 million in employee compensation annually.