Updated August 31 at 9:31am

Navigant loan growth defies trend

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Navigant Credit Union’s 21 percent spike in total loans in 2013 over the previous year spotlights the Smithfield-based financial institution’s notable growth in two segments – residential mortgages and home-equity loans – as lenders in Rhode Island and nationwide struggle with the sluggish and competitive marketplace.

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Navigant loan growth defies trend

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Navigant Credit Union’s 21 percent spike in total loans in 2013 over the previous year spotlights the Smithfield-based financial institution’s notable growth in two segments – residential mortgages and home-equity loans – as lenders in Rhode Island and nationwide struggle with the sluggish and competitive marketplace.

“We crested [more than] $1 billion in total loans for the first time ever in September 2013,” said Navigant Credit Union Chief Lending Officer Fred Reinhardt.

Navigant’s loans totaled nearly $1.1 billion in 2013, up from about $830 million in 2012. A portion of the increase came with Navigant’s 2013 merger with Columbus Credit Union with its two branches in Warren and East Providence.

“Of the increase of about $220 million in total loans, about $48 million came as a result of the merger with Columbus Credit Union,” said Reinhardt.

Navigant’s overall loan growth far outpaced the national trend for credit unions.

Nationwide, credit union estimates show a 6.8 percent loan growth in 2013, Credit Union National Association spokesman Ben Fishel said in an email.

Nationally, credit union loan growth has exceeded savings growth for the first time since the recession, said Fishel.

The substantial loan growth experienced by Navigant in 2013 is unusual and is a result of several components, said Reinhardt.

“Our word-of-mouth referrals are extraordinary. People are getting to know that we carefully look at each individual loan,” said Reinhardt. “We also had some attractive rates and aggressive marketing.”

Navigant recorded a 26 percent increase in residential mortgage loans in 2013 over the previous year, a departure from the experience of many mortgage lenders in the state. Navigant’s residential mortgages totaled $618 million in 2013, compared to $491 million the previous year.

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