WASHINGTON (11/21/12)--Credit unions have seen record membership and loan growth in recent months, and should continue to have strong growth in both of these areas, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said in a Tuesday interview with Reuters
reporter Fred Katayama.
Cheney also discussed the housing market, mortgage rates, the looming fiscal cliff and other issues during the interview.
Cheney said the housing market is making a slow, steady recovery that CUNA believes should continue. Mortgage rates should also stay relatively low into the future. While there may be a slight increase in mortgage rates over the next year, that increase may not be more than 50 basis points, he said. And, while the mortgage rates charged by credit unions and banks are often very similar, "credit union fees are much lower--so you still save money with a mortgage at a credit union," Cheney added.
Credit unions are well positioned for any economic outcome, and fared well during the economic crisis.
"Because credit unions were careful lenders before the crisis and also during the crisis, they didn't turn their backs on their members. They were there making loans throughout the crisis and that helped them build that market share and they are going to continue to do that," he added.
Credit unions "can weather any storm," including potential issues caused by the looming fiscal cliff, Cheney added. Regarding the fiscal cliff, Cheney said he is confident that the U.S. Congress can come up with a framework to resolve pressing tax and spending issues, but "there are no guarantees in Washington these days." Legislators may create a temporary solution and return to address the issues at a later date, he said.