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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kan. credit unions report strong first quarter

By Jerry Siebenmark
The Wichita Eagle

The aggregate financial numbers of Kansas chartered credit unions looked strong again in the first quarter of 2012, according to their regulator.

But their regulator isn’t certain why loans and assets are up but membership is down.

According to the Kansas Department of Credit Unions’ first quarter 2012 call report statistics, loans grew by $200 million between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.

Assets increased nearly 10 percent — or by $406 million — over the same period to $4.6 billion, the report said.

Yet, according to the report, membership decreased 4.5 percent in the period-to-period comparison, to 572,639.

“We’re not exactly certain why” membership declined significantly in a 12-month period, said Michael Baugh, KDCU’s financial examiner administrator.

The numbers originate from the call reports Kansas credit unions file quarterly with the National Credit Union Administration.

John Smith, KDCU administrator, said those numbers are contrary to the national credit union membership trend, in which membership numbers are growing, largely because of consumers moving their money from large banks to credit unions, he said.

The decline in Kansas membership numbers could be attributed in part to the state credit unions culling their records annually and closing accounts that are no longer active, Smith said.

What Baugh and Smith are sure of is that the state’s credit unions are growing financially. With loans up to $2.9 billion compared with $2.7 billion a year ago, the 79 state-chartered credit unions are making more loans. And they are taking in a lot more deposits.

Smith thinks some of the growth in assets can be attributed to landowners getting money from a surge in mineral leases by oil and gas companies. Growth in credit union assets is also probably coming from people taking their money out of stocks because of stock market fluctuations this year, Baugh said.

Smith said he’s satisfied with the performance of Kansas credit unions thus far.

“I view the results as favorable, particularly that Kansas credit unions continue to perform probably better than the average credit union nationally,” he said. “I would caution that one quarter doesn’t make a trend, either.”

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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