Front Row - left to right (seated) – Wes Moreau III, CLO, Carter FCU, Shreveport, La.; Ronald Celaschi, SVP of Lending/Operations, Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa.; Ted Bangert, VP of Business Lending, Highmark FCU, Rapid City, S.D.; Greg Hansen, VP of Business Services, Numerica CU, Spokane Valley, Wash.
Back Row - left to right – Dan Murray, VP-Product Executive and Andrea Stritzke, Director of Lending Compliance, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.; Joe Arnold, CEO, Carter FCU, Shreveport, La.; James Wood, VP of Lending, Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa.; Jason Osterhage, Chair, CUNA Lending Council and SVP of Lending, Alliant CU, Chicago, Ill.; Bob Stowell, Vice Chair, CUNA Lending Council and SVP/COO, US FCU, Burnsville, Minn.
CUNA Mutual Group and CUNA Lending Council grant the awards, which recognize credit unions that have implemented outstanding lending programs while demonstrating sound financial performance.
Andrea Stritzke, director of lending compliance for CUNA Mutual Group, presented the awards to:
• Carter Federal Credit Union, Shreveport, La., consumer lending (less than $250 million in assets);
• Clearview Federal Credit Union, Moon Township, Penn., consumer lending (more than $250 million in assets);
• Numerica Credit Union, Spokane Valley, Wash., business lending (more than $250 million in assets);
• Highmark Federal Credit Union, Rapid City, S.D., business lending (less than $250 million in assets);
Carter Federal, chartered in 1954 by Floyd Carter of International Paper Company, significantly grew its more profitable direct lending program while maintaining a moderate indirect lending channel.
The $230 million asset credit union recently adopted a Salary Advance Loan program by piloting Filene Research Institute's "Borrow and Save" lending program. This payday loan alternative deposits 5% of each loan request into a savings account to help members break the predatory lending cycle. In five months, Carter Federal booked more than 118 loans for more than $53,000.
Clearview Federal, with roots in the airline industry, struggled to get its lending program off the ground until a consultant revamped its processes. For instance, the $900 million asset credit union made its home equity products more flexible and competitively priced, and shortened the turnaround time from 4-6 weeks to 10-14 days. Those and other improvements produced double-digit loan growth in 2013, and loan balances grew 18.87% year-over-year in 2014.
To better serve small businesses, Numerica hired experienced commercial lending officers and credit personnel, and purchased updated software that drives results. The $1.3 billion credit union focused on originating high-quality loans through loan officers and branch referrals instead of brokers, connecting with the community through outreach and marketing.
Numerica now boasts the largest member business lending portfolio in its market—$232 million at the end of 2013, representing a 123% increase in four years.
Highmark Federal, a low-income designated credit union that serves 9,500 members in parts of South Dakota and Wyoming, wants member business lending (MBL) to represent one-third of its total loan portfolio by 2018. The $95 million asset credit union aims to increase membership, diversify its loan portfolio, aid asset/liability management (ALM) goals and meet profitability targets.
To add a personal touch to its investments in employees and technology, Highmark Federal staff will make "house calls" to small businesses and agricultural producers so those members won't need to leave their premises to conduct business.
In 2013, Highmark Federal increased its MBL portfolio 123% over the previous year. Within the credit union’s regional peer group, competitors’ MBL portfolios increased 4.7% compared with Highmark’s 158% growth rate.
CUNA Mutual Group and the CUNA Lending Council established the Excellence in Lending Awards in 2000. The annual awards provide an opportunity for credit unions to share best practices and ideas, build networks, and recognize and celebrate lending excellence.
Judges for this year's Excellence in Lending Awards included:
• Consumer lending: Fawn Terwilliger, vice president of lending, Service CU; Stacy Fifield, SVP/CLO, Travis CU; Rich Trace, director, product management, CUNA Mutual Group;
• Business lending Dale Frankhouse, director, business services, Sun FCU; Bob Stowell, SVP/COO, US FCU; Tom Keepers, director, product management, CUNA Mutual Group.