SAN DIEGO (11/5/14)--Four credit unions were recognized for exemplary lending Monday with CUNA Mutual Group's and CUNA Lending Council's Excellence in Lending Awards at the CUNA Lending Council's 20th annual conference in San Diego.
|Front row, from left, Wes Moreau III, chief lending officer, Carter FCU, Shreveport, La.; Ronald Celaschi, senior vice president of lending/operations, Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa.; Ted Bangert, vice president of business lending, Highmark FCU, Rapid City, S.D.; Greg Hansen, vice president of business services, Numerica CU, Spokane Valley, Wash. Back row, from left: Dan Murray, vice president, product executive, and Andrea Stritzke, director of lending compliance, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.; Joe Arnold, CEO, Carter FCU; James Wood, vice president of lending, Clearview FCU; Jason Osterhage, chair, CUNA Lending Council and senior vice president of lending, Alliant CU, Chicago; Bob Stowell, vice chair, CUNA Lending Council and senior vice president/chief operating officer, US FCU, Burnsville, Minn. (CUNA Mutual Group Photo)|
Carter FCU, Shreveport, La., with $230 million in assets was recognized in the consumer lending category for credit unions with less than $250 million in assets. Carter FCU significantly built up its more profitable direct lending program while maintaining a moderate indirect lending channel.
With the financial well-being of its members in mind, Carter recently adopted a Salary Advance Loan program by piloting Filene Research Institute's "Borrow and Save" program. This cheaper alternative to payday-lending products deposits 5% of each loan request into a savings account to help members break the payday lending cycle. In five months, more than 118 loans were booked for more than $53,000.
Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa., with $900 million in assets, was recognized in the consumer lending category for credit unions with more than $250 million in assets. With the help of a lending consultant, Clearview now celebrates successes; keeps employees informed, engaged and empowered; and provides real solutions for its members. Home-equity products are flexible and priced more competitively. Clearview also streamlined the home-equity turnaround time to 10 to 14 days from four to six weeks. Those and other improvements have resulted in double-digit loan growth in 2013. The trend continued in 2014 with loan balances growing 18.87% year-over-year.
Highmark FCU, Rapid City, S.D., with $95 million in assets, was recognized in the member business lending (MBL) category for credit unions with less than $250 million in assets. This low-income designated credit union has ambitious business lending goals and a solid plan in place to reach those goals. Serving parts of South Dakota and Wyoming, Highmark expects a third of its total lending portfolio to be comprised of MBLs by 2018. That plan is expected to increase membership, diversify Highmark FCU's loan portfolio, aid asset-liability management goals and help meet profitability targets.
In addition to investing in employees and technology, Highmark FCU is adding a personal touch to its focus on small businesses and agricultural producers. Staff will make "house calls" to bring members businesses' banking solutions to them so they can avoid time away from their businesses. In 2013, HFCU increased its MBL portfolio goal by 135% from 2012. Within the credit union's regional peer group, competitors' MBL portfolios increased 4.7% compared with Highmark's 158% growth rate.
Numerica CU, Spokane Valley, Wash., with $1.3 billion in assets, was recognized in the MBL category for credit unions with assets more than $250 million in assets. Numerica CU wanted to better serve small businesses and knew that doing so meant being more organic. It hired experienced commercial loan officers and credit personnel and purchased appropriate software to generate more home-grown business lending.
The credit union began focusing on originating high-quality loans through its loan officers or from branch referrals, rather than through brokers. In addition to tapping existing members, Numerica connected with the community through outreach and marketing efforts. Numerica now has the largest MBL portfolio in its market. At year-end 2013, MBLs totaled $232 million, a 123% increase in four years.
CUNA Mutual Group, with support and expertise from the CUNA Lending Council, established the Excellence in Lending Awards in 2000 to recognize credit unions that have implemented outstanding lending programs while demonstrating sound financial performance. The annual awards provide an opportunity for credit unions to share best practices and ideas, build networks, and recognize and celebrate lending excellence.