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Georgia CUs out front on most rates; banks take mortgage lead.

Banks in Georgia appear to have offered better average rates on 15- and 30-year mortgages as credit unions take the lead on car loan rates.

That's according to the Georgia Credit Union Benefits Index, which is based on data collected during December 2009 from more than 160 CUs and banks compiled through rate tracking firm Datatrac. Georgia's banks had better average rates on their mortgages at 4.66% on 15-year mortgages and 5.07% on 30-year mortgages. The state's CUs offered average rates of 5.32% and 5.69%, respectively, the tracking index from the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates revealed.

While banks showed more appealing mortgage rates, CUs had stronger average rates on home equity lines and second mortgages at 4.61% compared to 5.57% at banks. The cooperatives also fared better with car loans. The average rate for a 60-month new car loan was 5.34% for CUs, compared to 6.56% for banks. A 48-month used car loan had an average rate of 5.54% compared to 7.09% at banks.

The state's CUs also edged out banks on credit cards with the average rate at 11.35% compared to 11.96% at banks. The average rate for a personal or unsecured loan was slightly higher for CUs at 11.08% and 11.01% at banks. While the number of loans granted decreased in 2009 compared to 2008, the average loan amount was slightly higher last year at $12,235 compared to $11,029 in 2008.

True to form, Georgia's CU also continued to offer higher rates on savings accounts. The average rate paid on a savings account with a $1,000 balance was 0.58% for CUs, compared to 0.42% for banks. Money market accounts were 1.74% for CUs and 1.25% for banks and the average rate paid on individual retirement accounts was 2.08% for cooperatives compared to 1.59% for banks.

"Credit union usage continues to translate into substantial savings for Georgians," said Michael Mercer, president/CEO of GCUA. "Many Georgia consumers are switching to credit unions because savings are funneled back directly to our members, providing a direct and positive impact to their wallets."

While the number of loans granted decreased in 2009 as compared to 2008, the average loan amount was slightly higher in 2009-$12,235 in 2009 as compared to $11,029 in 2008, according to the Georgia index. The majority of loans generated by CUs were for consumer purchases, especially for used vehicles, but also for new vehicles, home mortgages, home equity lines of credit and credit cards.
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Author:Samaad, Michelle A.
Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Apr 14, 2010
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