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More Georgians turn to credit unions for lending needs


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ATLANTA--Sept. 6, 2013:

Highlights

New vehicle loans at Georgia credit unions increased 6.8 percent in the first half of 2013 Used vehicle loans increased 5.5 percent for the first half of the year Total loan balances were up 2.9 percent in the first half of 2013

Strong job growth and a rebounding housing market continue to drive consumer spending in Georgia, suggests a recent report by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA).

The report showed robust automobile demand throughout the state: New vehicle loans at Georgia credit unions increased 6.8 percent in the first half of the 2013, and used vehicle loans increased 5.5 percent for that same period.

This persistent growth in vehicle loans reflects the state's steadily improving economy, which recently added 40,000 new jobs (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) and observed a four percent rise in average home prices during first quarter 2013 – the most recent data available by the Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase-only index.

"Jobs and housing prices are both key factors in lifting consumer confidence," said Mike Mercer, president and CEO of GCUA. "As we see those conditions return to pre-recession levels, we expect lending at Georgia credit unions to expand as well."

For the quarterly report, GCUA compiled savings and lending data from June 2012 to June 2013 at 43 credit unions from across the state, representing 94 percent of credit union assets and 88 percent of members in Georgia.

While automobile financing led the way in consumer spending, the report also displayed a solid overall increase in loans at Georgia credit unions. For the first half of 2013, total loan balances were up 2.9 percent – and second mortgage loans jumped by 4.4 percent.

In fact, total membership at the state's credit unions grew by 1.8 percent in the first half of the 2013 and by 2.6 percent in the year ending June 2013.