State's credit union health about where it should be

Kansas-chartered credit unions saw slight gains in assets, loans and delinquencies in the third quarter, according to a Kansas Department of Credit Unions report released this week.

According to the regulator's quarterly report, credit unions made loans totaling $2.6 billion, up 4 percent from third quarter 2009.

Assets increased almost 6 percent in the same period, to $3.97 billion.

And delinquencies were up more than 2 percent, to $36.6 million.

"Generally speaking, I feel the fall report cycle (shows) Kansas credit unions are performing as they should be," said John Smith, KDCU's administrator.

Smith and Michael Baugh, KDCU's financial examiner administrator, said the economic downturn has made it a hard year for the state's credit unions.

That's reflected in their return on average assets, or ROAA. Their ROAA for the quarter was 0.64 percent compared with 0.69 percent a year ago.

"Credit unions are trying to keep a tight lid on expenses," Baugh said.

But their investment income is down, he said. And they are still saddled with replenishing money used to bail out corporate credit unions, which is eating into their ROAA, a key measure of profitability.

Smith said credit unions are actively lending.

But Baugh said the 4 percent gain in total loans isn't "a major shift in consumer lending activity."

Credit unions are continuing to see gains in membership.

For the quarter, they had more than 552,000 members compared with 539,000 in the same period a year ago.