Congratulations to the three credit unions recognized for their lending expertise in 2010!
Dan Kaiser, CUNA Mutual vice president, presented Excellence in Lending awards at the CUNA Lending Council Conference on Oct. 18, 2010 to:
- Oregon Community Credit Union, Eugene, Ore. - Consumer Lending, More than $250 in assets
- Erie Federal Credit Union, Erie, Penn. - Consumer Lending, More than $250 in assets
- NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, South Burlington, Vt. - Low/Modest Means
The Excellence in Lending Award identifies and shares examples of lending excellence within the credit union movement by recognizing individual credit unions for their ability to serve members while sustaining sound financial performance. Credit unions demonstrating an ability to meet their members' needs through innovation are excellent award candidates. An extremely difficult lending environment and the awards' demanding standards resulted in only three winners this year.
Oregon Community Credit Union ($919.6 million in assets; 96,863 members) - The Eugene, Ore., credit union knew it would need to transform from a "service industry" to a sales and service culture. The catalyst that led its rise to becoming the fastest-growing credit union in Lane County, Oregon, was its "360 Training." The training, for staff top to bottom, removed the "fear of sales" in employees and taught them how to align a member's need with a product or service.
The result was improved HELOC and direct lending programs and enhanced relationships with area car dealers. Oregon CCU also established a loan-phone branch that channeled all incoming calls from members seeking loans to a loan expert. In the first half of 2010, Oregon CCU's loan branch stood at 137 percent of its annualized goal.
Erie Federal Credit Union ($320.8 million in assets; 36,709 members) - A strategic planning meeting in 2008 paved the way for the Erie, Penn., credit union to navigate through the troubled economy that year and in 2009. Erie laid out a plan for expense management, building business relationships with car dealers and growing their lending and member services programs. In 2009, Erie provided 3,400 car loans totaling $49 million and maintained its standing as the No. 1 vehicle lender in Erie County.
Another avenue for loan growth was the credit union's Merchant Direct Loan program, which served the area's small businesses when traditional business financing struggled. The expansion of that program to 18 merchants helped the credit union experience record growth in 2009, most notably in lending where its loan portfolio grew 22.7 percent.
NorthCountry Federal Credit Union ($270.6 million in assets; 22,674 members) - A desire to reach more members of modest means in South Burlington, Vt., spawned NorthCountry's Employer Sponsored Income Advance Program. This unique emergency loan program provides up to $1,500 in funds through the members' employers. Members apply for the loan through their employer's H.R. Department.
The 11 participating companies pay a small annual fee - typically less than $500 - to offer the emergency loan program to their employees. Since July 2007, NorthCountry has made 389 loans totaling $400,000 and has written off only $8,500. Thirty-five percent of borrowers continue the payroll deduction to savings after the loan is repaid.
Sponsored by CUNA Mutual and the CUNA Lending Council, the Excellence in Lending Awards was presented at the CUNA Lending Council's annual conference Oct. 18 in Las Vegas.
Excellence in Lending judges for the 2010 awards included, Rich Trace, CUNA Mutual; Mike Long, UW (University of Wisconsin) Credit Union; Fawn Terwilliger, Service Credit Union; Jennifer Cowles, American Eagle FCU; Tom Keepers, CUNA Mutual; Bill Vogeney, Ent FCU; Dan Kaiser, CUNA Mutual; Aaron Bresko, BECU; Mark Wilburn, 66 FCU; Chuck Anderson, Arizona State Credit Union; Rich Fischer, CUNA Mutual, and Keith Reynolds, Citizens Equity First CU.
The CUNA Lending Council is a community of credit union lending professionals dedicated to being the primary source of the best lending practices and educational opportunities in the industry.
Winners of CUNA Mutual Group's Excellence in Lending Awards were recognized at CUNA's 16th Annual Lending Council conference in Las Vegas. Front row, left to right: Jeff Lewis and Jim Craft, Oregon CCU, Eugene, Ore., Consumer Lending, More than $250M in assets; Carol Brinchi and Denise Kaczmareck of Erie (Penn.) FCU, Consumer Lending, More than $250M in assets; Robert Morgan, NorthCountry FCU, South Burlington, Vt., Low/Modest Means credit unions. Back row: Dan Kaiser, VP, CUNA Mutual Group; Aaron Bresko, VP, BECU, Lending Council chairman.