ARLINGTON, Va.—Interest rates and asset yields are the issues credit union leaders are most optimistic about for 2019, while the economy remains the biggest worry, according to a new report.
NAFCU’s Economic & CU Monitor found almost 25% were most positive about where interest rates and asset yields are headed in the new year. The latest issue of the Monitor highlights that rising interest rates have benefited credit unions in recent years – net interest margins are up roughly 25 basis points since 2014, and 10 basis points in 2018 alone.
Approximately 15% of respondents were most optimistic about both lending and overall growth. On lending, the Monitorsurvey found respondents originate over 8% of mortgage loans (the highest share for the industry on record), with many anticipating regulatory relief measures included in S. 2155 will increase credit unions' lending capacity.
Views on the Economy
On the other hand, the economy was named by 23% of Monitorrespondents as something they're concerned about, NAFCU reported. In addition, 19% also cited concerns about rising interest rates, specifically related to competition for deposits.
The new edition of the Monitoralso showed the Credit Union Sentiment Index (CUSI) rose for the second consecutive month in December and nearly reached its all-time high. The sharpest increase was in the earnings score, and the regulation score also improved for the third straight month.