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Updated: January 8, 2024 Economic Outlook

2024 Forecast: Liquidity ‘top of mind’ at Maine credit unions

Provided Photo Cris Wescott, interim president and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League

Cris Wescott, interim president and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League, believes the recession fears of a year ago have receded but does not expect significant economic growth in Maine in 2024.

“As long as companies continue hiring and consumer spending holds strong, we should be able to weather the economic slowdown,” she says.

The upshot for her industry: “With limited economic growth, high inflation and programs like student loan forbearance eliminated, credit unions will continue paying close attention to loan and credit card payment delinquencies.”

Fortunately, in Maine, where credit unions have strong relationships with their members, the loan delinquency rate is lower than the national average, she says.

Another red flag: “Liquidity is top of mind for everyone in the financial services sector,” she says. “During the pandemic, credit unions experienced significant growth in shares as Mainers received state and federal stimulus dollars. With those bonus dollars gone and people paying more for just about everything, share growth has slowed.”

She nevertheless sees Maine credit unions as financially strong, adding that “I’m proud of the impact our movement has made in Maine over the past year and believe our future is bright.”

On the legislative front, Wescott says the trade group is watching the federal Credit Card Competition Act and is hopeful the SAFER Banking Act will make its way through the U.S. Senate “to better position credit unions and other financial institutions when serving cannabis businesses.”

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