For the first time since 2007, Nevada credit union loan growth reaches positive territory

Credit union loan growth in Nevada is in positive territory for the first time since 2007, posting a 0.6 percent increase, according to a report released Friday.

The report from the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues also found credit unions in the Silver State posted another noticeable uptick in savings, with a 0.5 percent increase in the fourth quarter, finishing 2013 with a 3.2 percent increase.

Dwight Johnston, the league’s chief economist, said demand for loans was driven largely by “mid-level consumer purchases,” mostly used automobiles, unsecured personal loans and credit cards.

“These three categories provided strong enough growth to push the overall loan growth into positive territory in the fourth quarter,” Johnston said. “After lagging the recovery in the rest of the U.S., Nevada began what appears to be a sustainable rebound in jobs and construction in the second half of 2013.”

Used autos, unsecured personal loans, and credit cards finished 2013 with increases of 13.6 percent, 5.4 percent, and 4.8 percent, respectively.

Johnston said on the savings side Nevada consumers continue to focus on building short-term liquid accounts. Based in Ontario, Calif., the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ report compiles data from 33 federally insured credit unions in Nevada.

The state’s credit unions reported regular savings account balances grew by 9 percent last year, while checking account balances jumped 0.9 percent and money market balances grew 2 percent year-over-year.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.