to people and their money

Stephen Smith, President/CEO
Fulton Teachers' Credit Union

Report: Georgians Saving More,
But Most Lack Enough To Cover
Long-Term Expenses

More than half could not cover essential expenses for more than three months, according to Georgia Credit Union Affiliates report

ATLANTA (August 22, 2011) - More than half of all Georgians (52.6 percent) could not cover essential expenses for more than three months if they lost their source of income, and more than three-quarters of the state's residents could not make it more than a year, a new poll finds.

That's an improvement from a year ago when 76.3 percent said they could not survive more than three months if they lost their income.

The poll findings are included in the most recent Georgia Credit Unions' "Paying Attention." The quarterly report compiles recent poll responses from more than 6,000 credit union members and aggregated data from credit unions statewide.

"The good news is that many Georgians are starting to realize the need to save, but the bad news is most haven't saved enough to cover essential expenses more than three months," said Mike Mercer, president and CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates. "Our poll shows that paying down debt and cutting expenses are among the top strategies consumers are using to get back to saving consistently."

Not surprisingly, the most recent poll also found that nearly six in 10 Georgians feel they are living paycheck to paycheck. At the same time, more than four out of five Georgians (86.8 percent) said they are reducing spending while three in five (60.8 percent) are using coupons as a means to cut costs.

At the same time, 17.1 percent of residents statewide say they are "very" happy with their current level of income, but the bulk (49.2 percent) say they are somewhat happy with their current income level. Of the 33.7 percent of Georgians who are "not very" or "not at all" happy with their current income, 90.7 percent are taking action - either looking to increase their income or reducing expenses.

The new report revealed that just four in 10 Georgians (40.8 percent) set a savings goal this year. Of those who did set a goal though, 55.2 percent think they'll be able to attain their goal. When it comes to vacations, 35.5 percent of Georgians said they eliminated vacations as a means of cutting costs - 58.1 percent said the high price of gas has caused them to either decrease the amount of travel or stay closer to home. Still, 58.5 percent said they plan to take a trip during the next 12 months.

Click here to see poll results measuring the current economic mood of Georgians, as well as savings and spending trends. More information about Georgia credit unions is available at or on

Credit Union Data Show Continued Trend Toward Savings
In conjunction with the consumer poll, GCUA compiled savings and lending data from 38 credit unions from across the state that represents 91 percent of credit union assets and 84 percent of members in Georgia. The findings, outlined below, reflect a continuing trend toward savings, while figures for lending varied:

  • Total savings deposits rose at a rate of 9.12 percent during the first half of 2011 and 9.43 over the past 12 months.
  • Business lending showed continued growth of 17.01 percent; however, it is important to note that this growth rate is based on a low loan base since there is currently a low business lending cap for credit unions.
  • For the first time in a while used car lending saw decent growth of 3.97 percent during the second quarter.
  • First mortgage balances increased by 3.10 percent during the first six months of 2011 and by 11.81 percent over the course of the last year, due mostly to refinances concentrated in the larger credit unions.
  • The number of bankruptcy filings among members decreased by 9.72 percent during June 2011 compared to a year earlier.
  • Credit card balances decreased by 3.00 percent during the first six months of the year, but have still increased by 2.60 compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Certificates of Deposit were down 1.8 percent, likely due to consumers' unwillingness to lock their money away for the long term due to historically low rates.

Survey Data Breakdown
For the first time, the Georgia Credit Unions' "Paying Attention" report includes data by three markets in addition to the statewide numbers. Click here to view the breakdown by market.

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 1.8 million credit union members. GCUA offers advocacy, educational, operational and marketing support for Georgia’s 150 credit unions, with combined total assets of almost $16 billion. More information can be found at

Previous Reports
Click here to view previous "Paying Attention" reports.


Trends at Georgia Credit Unions
Consumer Credit
Consumer Savings
Growth Rates
Growth Rates
12 Months
12 Months
Credit Card -3.00% 2.60%   Regular Savings 9.12% 9.43%
Other Unsecured -4.16% -3.29% Money Market Acts 5.16% 12.31%
New Vehicle 1.11% -1.85% Certificates of Deposit -1.80% 0.01%
Used Vehicle 3.97% 7.18% IRA/KEOGH Acts 1.51% 5.36%
1st Mortgage 3.10% 11.81%
Transaction Accounts $ Balances
Other Real Estate -2.18% -1.32% Checking Accounts 9.13% 17.56%
Business 17.01% 39.49%      
Total Loans 2.84% 7.84%   Total Savings 4.65% 8.08%
Number of Bankruptcy Filings:        
YTD # of Filings   3,205        
% Change from YTD June 2010*   -9.72%        
* First 6 months of 2011 compared to first 6 months of 2010.     YTD: 1/1/11 - 6/30/11
12 Mos: 6/10 - 6/11
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates