Mike Mercer, President/CEO
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates
Georgians Strengthen Savings,
Continue to Spend Wisely
'Paying Attention' report reveals benefits
of bolstering savings accounts
- Savings balances grew 6.3 percent over the past year
- New vehicle loans increased by 14.1 percent in one year
- Bankruptcy filings declined in Georgia by 13.8 percent in the past year
- Membership grew by 4.5 percent over the past year
ATLANTA (Nov. 26, 2012) – Georgians are returning order to their fiscal houses by growing savings account balances, borrowing money for wise investments – such as cars and houses – and drastically reducing their risk of bankruptcy.
According to the latest “Paying Attention” report from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA), savings balances at the state’s 141 credit unions rose 6.3 percent over the past year. At the same time, new vehicle loans grew by 14.1 percent and bankruptcy filings declined by 13.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
For the quarterly report, GCUA compiled savings and lending data from 38 credit unions across the state. The data represents 92 percent of credit union assets and 86 percent of members in Georgia.
"The recession has been tough on Georgians but it has taught them valuable financial lessons including the importance of saving money to cover the unexpected," said Mike Mercer, GCUA’s President and CEO. "The recession is still fresh on people’s minds, which explains why Georgians have maintained the same financial prudence typical of recent years."
In addition to loan growth and bankruptcy filings, the study reported:
- Regular savings account balances increased by 12 percent in one year
- Money market accounts grew 7.5 percent in the course of a year
- IRA/Keogh accounts grew 3.48 percent since Q3 2011
- Checking account balances increased 11.9 percent in a one year period
- Georgia credit union membership grew by 4.5 percent over the past year
As savings balances saw strong growth, more Georgians looked to borrow money from credit unions to finance long-term investments.
"After years of trimming budgets and paying off debt, more people have the ability to finance smart investments like new homes or vehicles," said Mercer.
Total loans increased 4.74 percent in the past year. This lending growth was led by new vehicle loans (up 14.1 percent) and used vehicle loans (up 7.9 percent). First mortgage rates also increased 7.6 percent.
More Savings, Fewer Bankruptcies
As the balances of savings accounts are increasing, the number of bankruptcies decreased by 13.8 percent. This reflects a national trend – the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recently reported U.S. bankruptcy were 12 percent less than the same period in 2011, and Georgia leads the national average by nearly two percentage points.
"These bankruptcy statistics are a reflection of the state's recovering economy," Mercer said. "People are getting back on track with their incomes and jobs."
The report also displayed a steep decline in delinquencies of 60 days or more – which fell to 0.74 percent at the end of the third quarter – down from 0.78 percent at mid-year 2012 and from 1.10 percent at year end 2011.
Click here to view previous "Paying Attention" reports. More information about Georgia credit unions is available at www.georgiacreditunions.org or on facebook.com/creditYOUnion.
About Georgia Credit Union Affiliates
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) provides services and support that help credit unions meet the financial services needs of the state’s more than 1.9 million credit union members. GCUA offers advocacy, educational, operational and marketing support for Georgia’s 141 credit unions, with combined total assets of more than $18 billion. More information can be found at www.georgiacreditunions.org.