August 24, 2014

ECUM: CUs prepared for rate hikes

The August edition of NAFCU's Economic & CU Monitor is now available and includes a special focus on interest rate risk, noting that credit unions "will be prepared to manage interest rate risk when rates rise without any regulation or rule in place requiring them to do so."

The Monitor mentions NCUA's Letter to Credit Unions from January, which listed interest rate risk as a key area of supervisory focus. "Historically, credit unions have successfully managed interest rate risk," the Monitor states. "From 2004-2006, the target federal funds rate increased 425 basis points, and yet NCUA's material loss reviews do not identify any credit union failures due to interest rate risk."

The survey responses associated with this month's Monitor note that credit unions are preparing for a rise in interest rates. Regarding their preparations, 72.2 percent of credit union respondents have shortened their investment portfolio duration in anticipation of rising rates, with the next most popular option being a shortened real estate portfolio duration.

The largest portion of survey respondents – 47.2 percent – anticipate that the first significant rate rise will occur in the second half of 2015.

Also of note in this month's Monitor:

  • credit union member growth ticked up in June to 2.8 percent year over year;
  • loan growth stayed at 9.1 percent year over year in June; and
  • three out of five regions expect total loan growth to accelerate during the next year.

Responses to NAFCU's research team for the September Economic & CU Monitor are due Aug. 29. The focus of the survey is a regulatory and compliance "grab bag." Credit unions can take the survey online or by filling out an Excel spreadsheet.