Representatives of the six CUs that won Excellence in Lending Awards include (left to right): Robert Glore, VP of operations, Georgia Heritage FCU; MJ Hutchison, manager of mortgage lending, Y-12 FCU; Joe Brancucci, president/CEO, GTE Financial; David Martinez, director of lending strategies, The Partnership FCU; Dana Gray, VP of business services, BECU; and Jon Paukovich, SVP/CLO, Ent FCU. (CUNA Mutual Group Photo)

6 CUs get high honors for lending excellence

November 12, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (11/12/15)--Six credit unions were recognized for their exemplary lending Tuesday by receiving CUNA Mutual Group and CUNA Lending Council Excellence in Lending Award. The honors were announced at the CUNA Lending Council’s 21st annual conference.

The Excellence in Lending Awards program was established in 2000 by the CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group to identify, recognize and share examples of lending excellence within the credit union movement.

Applications were evaluated on the credit union’s strategy, programs and performance, and awarded based on the credit union’s ability to serve members while sustaining sound financial performance for the year 2014.

The award winners included:

  • Business--Boeing Employees’ CU (BECU), Tukwila, Wash.,for implementing an engagement strategy to connect with existing business members, based onits retail network and led by small-business specialists charged with educating and coaching frontline personnel. As a result, BECU’s business loan balances more than doubled to $186 million from $88 million in 2014, and as of Aug. 31 its portfolio had grown to $311 million.
  • Consumer (less than $250 million in assets)--The Partnership FCU, Arlington, Va., for launching a “lending revolution” in early 2014 to redeploy staff and enhance technology to boost loan acquisition, retention, and yield in the wake of the Great Recession. As a result, Partnership FCU saw 6.24% loan growth in 2014, the highest performance since the economic downturn, and annualized loan growth for 2015 topping 12%.
  • Consumer (more than $250 million in assets)--Ent FCU, Colorado Springs, Colo.,for its concerted effort to identify opportunities to increase consumer loan approval with existing members while updating income requirements with the aim of reducing losses. Ent FCU set an internal record of funding $1 million or more per business day in indirect loans for an entire year (as of July), 38% in direct auto loans, and 18.5% in unsecured/personal loans.
  • Low-to-modest means (less than $250 million in assets)--Georgia Heritage FCU (GHFCU), Savannah, Ga., for recognizing financial hardship extends beyond individuals to their employees and communities. As a result, GHFCU partnered with two community groups to offer small-dollar loans and financial education in concert with employees of local employers. Since 2014, GHFCU increased its loan portfolio by $8 million dollars (15.4%) and is on pace to exceed that in 2015.
  • Low-to-modest means (more than $250 million in assets)--GTE Financial, Tampa, Fla. After obtaining its low-income credit union (LICU) designation and community development financial institution (CDFI) certification, GTE Financial received two $1 million grants to provide capital for lending programs to expand auto, home and business ownership. Its five-year goal is to parlay those CDFI funds to more than $330 million in loans to more than 40,000 individuals, $125 million in small business loans, and first credit cards to 25,000 members.
  • Mortgage--Y-12 FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn., revised and streamlined its application process, developed new loan options, changed its approach for setting rates to be more competitive, and increased the marketing budget so loan officers could spend more time in the community building Y-12 FCU’s brand as a mortgage lender. As a result, Y-12 FCU built its mortgage portfolio by more than $28 million in the first six months of 2015, and expanded its monthly average of loans in the pipeline to 81 from 37.

See for additional CUNA Lending Council annual Conference coverage.