Average member relationship excluding member business loans reached an all-time high of $16,980 for credit unions nationwide in the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s a 4.5% increase over year-end 2014, which suggests rates are favorable for members and the economy is strengthening.
Average member relationship offers a look at the average balance of loans and shares a member holds at the credit union. The credit unions’ pricing strategy, product offerings, and underwriting policies contribute to the depth of members’relationships, and an increasing average member relationship suggests members are choosing credit unions as their primary financial institution.
The strong lending activity posted by credit unions in the past year is responsible for much of the growth in AMR. After all, loan balances increased 10.5% annually and topped $796.5 billion as of Dec. 31. Consumer loan originations accounted for 58.2%of total loan originations in 2015 that’s an 8.5% increase year-over-year. First mortgage originations topped $125.8 billion and accounted for 30.6% of all loans originated last year.
But AMR did not grow on loans alone. Shares and members also posted significant increases of 6.9% and 3.5%, respectively, with both metrics topping previous highs.
Here are the top 10 leaders in year-over-year change in average member relationship.
** Data for all credit unions over $20M in assets with membership growth greater than or equal to zero excluding significant mergers.
| Assets: $332.7M
1. Fairfax County (Fairfax, VA)
Fairfax County Federal Credit Union tops the leader table with a $6,220 increase in average member relationship in 2015. The credit union posted an AMR of $24,909 in fourth quarter 2014 and $31,129 at the end of 2015. The credit union posted strong lendingactivity throughout the year and expanded its portfolio 47.3% annually. Loan originations for 2015 topped $137.9 million. The majority 65.9% of the loan portfolio for Fairfax County FCU consists of other real estate loans; first mortgagesfollow at 23.4%.
| Assets: $7.9B
2. Star One (Sunnyvale, CA)
Share and loan growth outpaced member growth at Star Once Credit Union by 6.9 and 7.0 percentage points, respectively. This increased interaction with members drove the average member relationship up 6.7% or $5,584 annually to $88,963as of Dec. 31, 2015.
| Assets: $2.1B
3. Technology (San Jose, CA)
Strong loan, share, and member growth helped Technology Credit Union achieve an average membership relationship of $39,971 as of Dec. 31, 2015. That’s a $5,023, or 14.4%, year-over-year gain. Technology originated more than $685 million in loans throughout 2015, driving the total loan portfolio up to $1.3 billion. Share drafts expanded 11.2% year-over-year and share draft penetration hit 79.7%. The combination of these metrics suggests the credit union is deepening its relationship with current as well as new members.
| Assets: $1.2B
4. Self Reliance New York (New York, NY)
Self Reliance Federal Credit Union posts the highest average member relationship, $91,171, of all credit unions on the list; that’s up $4,628 from December 2014. The credit union’s lower member growth of 0.2% combined with shares and loan growth of 6.7% and 4.6%, respectively, suggests the credit union is expanding its relationship with current members.
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| Assets: $67.1M
Shares: $ 43.4M
5. ALPS (Sitka, AK)
ALPS Credit Union increased its average member relationship 23.6% year-over-year and reached $24,164 in December 2015. ALPS posted significant growth across all three metrics impacting AMR, which shows the credit union is not only expanding membershipbut also enticing members to make the credit union their primary financial institution. Loans increased 69.8%; shares and members grew 10.0% and 6.0%, respectively.
| Assets: $40.9M
6. Green Mountain (South Burlington, VT)
Although Green Mountain Credit Union’s average member relationship is $1,559 lower than the national average of $15,422, its average member relationship increased $4,082 annually. That 36.0% increase in AMR secured it a spot in the top 10. Loan andshare growth at Green Mountain soared 46.8% and 49.4%, respectively, in 2015, and its 6.8% membership growth nearly doubled the national rate.
| Assets: $1.5B
7. California (Glendale, CA)
California Credit Union expanded its average member relationship by 18.8% annually, increasing $3,753 to reach $23,679 in December 2015. Loan growth was the main driver of its success, as the credit union increased loans 33.4% year-over-year. CaliforniaCredit Union originated more than $554 million in loans throughout 2015, 56.1% of them being first mortgage loans.
| Assets: $514.0M
8. IDB-IIC (Washington, District of Columbia)
IDB-IIC’s strong lending activity drove its average member relationship up $3,659 that’s a 5.2% increase from December 2014 to December 2015. Loans at IDB-IIC increased 9.9%; shares expanded 5.7%. Its slower than average membership growthof 2.0% implies the credit union is strengthening its relationship with current members and enticing them to choose IDB-IIC as their primary financial intuition.
| Assets: $40.2M
9. Sonoma County Grange (Santa Rosa, CA)
Sonoma County Grange Credit Union, the smallest institution on the list, posted significant year-over-year loan and share growth of 37.9% and 6.4%, respectively. The credit union originated nearly $13.0 million in loans throughout 2015, with the majoritybeing first mortgage originations. The significant increase in lending activity drove the average member relationship up 18.0% to $22,995 in December 2015, $3,499 higher than the previous December.
| Assets: $4.2B
10. Bank-Fund Staff (Washington, District of Columbia)
Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union’s average member relationship topped $73,084 in December 2015. That’s $3,241 higher than in December 2014 and more than $56,000 higher than the national average. Bank-Fund Staff expanded loans by 7.1% and sharesby 5.1%; membership increased at a slower rate of 1.1%. Loan originations expanded 25.8% annually, with 37.3% of originations being consumer loans.
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