to people and their money

Ron Tomlinson, CEO
Coosa Valley Federal Credit Union
Membership Reduce
Cards Savings

Prudent Georgians
Gravitate to Credit Unions,
Look to Save Money

  • Credit unions' membership grew by 4.9 percent during the past year
  • Nine in 10 respondents plan to reduce spending
  • Savings account balances at Georgia’s credit unions rise over the past year
  • Credit card balances fall in 2012

ATLANTA (Aug. 20, 2012) – Georgia credit unions grew membership by 4.9 percent over the past year and are on pace to far exceed the 3.3 percent growth rate they enjoyed in 2011, new data from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) shows.

That outpaces the state’s roughly 1.3 percent population growth in the past year and continues a years-long trend of Georgians turning to the state’s more than 140 credit unions for their financial needs.

The numbers are part of GCUA’s quarterly “Paying Attention,” which couples aggregated data from credit unions statewide with recent poll responses from more than 7,200 credit union members. This edition of “Paying Attention” also reveals that balances of credit unions’ consumer savings accounts increased 11.6 percent during the last 12 months.

“Georgians are continuing to turn to credit unions because they are looking for a trusted partner who will help them afford life,” said Mike Mercer, president and CEO of GCUA. “Now more than ever, Georgians understand the importance of living a financially judicious life. They’re looking to make every penny count – more so than in years past – and that begins with choosing the right financial institution."

This “Paying Attention” revealed an increasing number of Georgians plan to cut back spending as a means of maintaining financial prudence. During the first six months of the year, credit card balances are down 3.6 percent; credit card balances decreased by 2.86 percent during the same timeframe a year ago.

The fact that 88.1 percent of Georgia credit union members surveyed said they are reducing spending as a means to save money is not surprising given another startling statistic: More than half (58.4 percent) of respondents could not cover essential expenses for more than three months if they lost their source of income. That’s a setback from last year (52.6 percent).

Georgia credit union members cite job status (46.6 percent) and/or debt status (43.4 percent) as the primary reasons impacting their overall spending decisions. In addition to cutting spending, Georgians are taking a number of approaches to stockpile their savings, including using coupons (60.6 percent), eliminating vacations (36.5 percent) and carpooling (6.6 percent).

Credit Union Data Shows Continued Trend to Save More, Spend Less
In conjunction with the poll, GCUA compiled savings and lending data from 38 credit unions from across the state that represents 92 percent of credit union assets and 86 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 10.07 percent during the first half of 2012 and 11.62 percent over the past 12 months
    • Despite characteristically slow growth in the second quarter, savings grew at an annualized rate of 0.8 percent
  • Used car loans saw a 2.51 percent increase during the first half of the year and 6.17 percent over the past 12 months
  • New vehicle loans swelled 6.74 percent year to date and 9.30 percent over the previous 12 months, illustrating favorable credit union pricing
    • The large increase reflects strong new car sales which were up by about 10 percent in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis
    • For Georgia credit unions, the average five-year new car loan rate is now 3.43 percent (1.71 percentage points lower than Georgia bank averages) – that difference results in a $1,400 saving over the life of the loan
  • First mortgage balances increased by 3.76 percent during the first six months of 2012 and by 9.69 percent over the course of the last year
  • The number of bankruptcy filings among members decreased by 15.79 percent during June 2012 compared to a year earlier. Georgia falls in line with national trends – the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recently reported that in the first half of 2012, U.S. bankruptcy filings declined a 13 percent compared to the first half of 2011
  • Credit card balances decreased by 3.55 percent during the first six months of the year, but have still increased by 1.35 over the last year
  • Certificates of Deposit were down 2.29 percent year to date and 2.27 percent over the past 12 months; this is likely the result of consumers’ unwillingness to lock their money away for the long term due to historically low rates

“The state’s credit unions are ready, willing and able to lend, but consumer behavior continues to reflect extreme caution,” Mike Schenk, VP Economics and Statistics for Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said. “There are a number of reasons for this caution, including a relatively weak recent labor market performance and concerns about a lagging economy and continued economic uncertainty.”

Click here to view additional survey data.

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

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 141 credit unions, with combined total assets of almost $16 billion. More information can be found at


Trends at Georgia Credit Unions
Consumer Credit
Consumer Savings $ Balances
Growth Rates
Growth Rates
12 Months
12 Months
Credit Card -3.55% 1.35%   Regular Savings 10.07% 11.62%
Other Unsecured -4.39% -1.81% Money Market Accounts 5.26% 7.61%
New Vehicle 6.74% 9.30% Certificates of Deposit -2.29% -2.27%
Used Vehicle 2.51% 6.17% IRA/KEOGH Accts 2.00% 3.96%
1st Mortgage 3.76% 9.69%
Transaction Accounts $ Balances
Other Real Estate -6.33% -9.24% Checking Accounts 12.19% 19.31%
Business -1.77% -4.90%      
Total Loans 1.56% 4.48%   Total Savings 5.64% 7.69%
Number of Bankruptcy Filings:        
YTD no. of Filings   2,715        
% Change from YTD June 2011   -15.79%        
* First 6 months of 2012 compared to first 6 months of 2011   YTD: 1/1/12 - 6/30/12
12 Mos: 6/11 - 6/12
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates