Money to lend:  Maine CUs outpace banks in most lending categories

January 4, 2016

For the period covering September 2014 - September 2015, Maine credit unions outpaced savings banks in several growth areas including total loans and real estate loans.  "Maine credit unions have been a steady and consistent source of lending for consumers, and these figures reflect the growing trend of Maine consumers turning to credit unions for their lending needs," remarked John Murphy, President of the League.  Examining annual growth rates for the five-year period from September 2010 to September 2015, Maine credit unions topped savings banks and commercial banks in the key lending categories including total loans, real estate loans and auto loans. 

According to figures provided by Callahan and Associates, Maine credit unions successfully grew total loans and real estate loans at faster rates than Maine savings institutions, and reported auto loan growth at twice the rate of Maine commercial banks.  Year over year statistics showed that loan growth at Maine credit unions registered a healthy 7.5% compared to 5.4% growth at savings banks, and real estate loan growth of 6.1% vs. 5.0% at savings banks.  In auto lending, Maine credit unions reported 10.7% growth as opposed to a negative -10.8% auto loan growth reported by commercial banks.  The five-year compound annual growth rates further highlighted the success and popularity of Maine credit unions.  During the period, total loans at Maine credit unions increased by 5.7% vs. 4.0% at savings banks and -2.3% at ME Commercial Banks.  For real estate loans, Maine credit unions grew their collective portfolio at a clip of 5.3% while savings banks and commercial banks reported growth during the same period at 3.9% and 4.3%, respectively.  Finally, in atuo loans, Maine credit unions experienced growth of 6.5%, as compared with -5.6% and -7.8% at savings banks and commercial banks.

"These numbers reinforce the strength of Maine credit unions, and the clear message being heard by consumers - Maine credit unions are ready, willing and able to lend.  When the Great Recession hit in 2008, banks contracted their lending areas and availability for consumers and small businesses.  Meanwhile, Maine credit unions continued to lend, understanding that providing access to credit to consumers and small businesses at a time of great need was more important than ever.  It is gratifying to see this philosophy translate to significant loan growth for Maine credit unions," added Murphy.