10/29/2018

Excellence in Lending Awards Presented Today

Top Consumer, Business, and Low-to-Modest Means Lenders Honored

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Six credit unions were recognized for their exemplary lending practices and results in business lending, consumer lending (including home equity), and low-to-modest means lending today by receiving an Excellence in Lending Award during the 24th Annual CUNA Lending Council Conference. CUNA Mutual Group, with support and expertise from the CUNA Lending Council, recognized credit unions that implemented outstanding lending programs while demonstrating sound financial performance.

CUNA Mutual Group’s Joe Heck, vice president of business transformation, presented awards to:

  • Consumers Credit Union, Kalamazoo, Mich., Business Lending, Assets less than $1 billion;
  • Alliant Credit Union, Chicago, Ill., Business Lending, Assets more than $1 billion;
  • Jefferson County Federal Credit Union, Louisville, Ky., Consumer Lending, Assets less than $250 million;
  • SPIRE Credit Union, Falcon Heights, Minn., Consumer Lending, Assets more than $250 million;
  • CALCOE Federal Credit Union, Yakima, Wash., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets less than $250 million; and
  • Frankenmuth Credit Union, Frankenmuth, Mich., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets more than $250 million.

This annual awards program provides an opportunity for credit unions to share best practices and ideas, network, and celebrate lending excellence across the industry. Applications were evaluated on: strategy, programs, and performance. All CUNA-affiliated credit unions in the U.S. were eligible to win.

2018 Excellence in Lending Award Winners:

Business Lending, Assets less than $1 billion – Consumers Credit Union, Kalamazoo, Mich. ($1 billion in assets, 89,200 members, www.consumerscu.org) – Consumers Credit Union launched new commercial lending origination software and expanded its team of business lenders and support staff and implemented new loan origination software to ramp-up commercial loan production and revenue production. This helped increase the credit union's business loans by 46 percent in 2017, with 42 percent growth projected for 2018. In addition, the credit union grew its commercial loan portfolio from $55.7 million at year-end 2016 to an anticipated $115.5 million over two years.

Business Lending, Assets more than $1 billion – Alliant Credit Union, Chicago, Ill. ($10.6 billion in assets, 411,400 members, www.alliantcreditunion.org) – Five years after introducing business lending in 2012, Alliant Credit Union took the next step to set commercial lending on an even more profitable course by hiring an experienced executive who in turn assembled an experienced team of commercial lenders and diversified offerings to expand loan volume and profitability. This resulted in $439 million in new business loans originated over 18 months, and the credit union achieved its goal of producing steady growth in income from business lending to support higher member dividends.

Consumer Lending, Assets less than $250 million – Jefferson County Federal Credit Union, Louisville, Ky. ($125.8 million in assets, 10,900 members, www.jcfcu.org) – One year after launching centralized lending and other improvements in July 2017, new loans were up 73 percent, GAP sales increased more than 150 percent, and extended warranty sales rose more than 60 percent. While there is still capacity to grow loan volume, Jefferson County FCU has already doubled its return on assets through its commitment to upgrade its lending processes. Excellence in Lending Award judges applauded the credit union’s tactical execution in support of its strategic aim to grow lending.

Consumer Lending, Assets more than $250 million – SPIRE Credit Union, Falcon Heights, Minn. ($1.05 billion in assets, 102,940 members, www.myspire.com) – To streamline lending and reduce processing time, SPIRE Credit Union centralized its lending team, built automated loan decisions, put in place an e-document system, and consolidated information about its new processes in a consumer lending manual. The loan origination system was refreshed and the credit union revisited its indirect lending relationships, offering extra incentives to preferred dealers based on volume and electronic contract delivery. In combination, these improvements drove up consumer loan balances from a 5 percent annual decrease to a 75 percent increase over the last two and a half years and an expanded monthly indirect loan volume from $2.5 million to $14 million.

Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets less than $250 million – CALCOE Federal Credit Union, Yakima, Wash. ($34.2 million in assets, 4,440 members, www.calcoefcu.com) – CALCOE Federal Credit Union worked with a strategic planner to identify its target market as the unbanked and underbanked residents of Yakima County and set out “to promote thrift, provide affordable access to credit and help members improve their quality of life.” The credit union decided to focus its limited resources on vehicle lending by establishing programs for members with no credit history or less-than-perfect credit and developed a risk-based pricing policy that would set rates lower than those of predatory lenders but high enough to cover potential losses. Since implementing these programs, the credit union has more than doubled membership, posted asset growth of 51 percent, and loan portfolio growth of 114 percent.

Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets more than $250 million – Frankenmuth Credit Union, Frankenmuth, Mich. ($621 million in assets, 43,600 members, www.frankenmuthcu.org) – Frankenmuth Credit Union serves communities reeling from decades of economic setbacks, loss of manufacturing jobs, and the slow decline of middle-class neighborhoods into blighted areas. As a CDFI lending partner with state and local agencies, the credit union supports local revitalization efforts and developed strategic goals to align with them. To that end, the credit union expanded its MiHome program, a flexible homeownership program, through a $3.4 million CDFI grant in support of Michigan’s plans to rescue low-to-moderate income residents from predatory rent contracts, making homeownership affordable so that previously abandoned homes can be occupied. The credit union’s long-term goal is to make $24.7 million in mortgages to connect 495 low-income families with opportunities for homeownership. Excellence in Lending Award judges applauded the credit union for its “effective acquisition of supporting funds for positive programming and community support.”

For more detail, read the 2018 winner profiles.

About CUNA Lending Council:

CUNA Councils are a member-led, collaborative community of credit union leaders providing vibrant peer interaction, new ideas and innovation to foster professional development for our members while advocating for the overall success of the credit union movement. The CUNA Lending Council is one of seven CUNA Councils, a network of more than 7,000 credit union professionals. For more information, visit cunacouncils.org.

About CUNA Mutual Group:

CUNA Mutual Group is a financially strong insurance and investment company. For generations, we’ve partnered with credit union leaders to protect and grow their businesses, and help people plan, protect and invest for their future. CUNA Mutual Group offers commercial and personal insurance products; lending and payment security solutions; and retirement, investment and marketing services. Additional information about the company can be found at www.cunamutual.com.

excellence in lending winners

Six credit unions were recognized for their lending prowess Monday, by receiving an Excellence in Lending Award during CUNA Lending Council’s 24th annual conference. Pictured here are the award sponsors and winning credit union representatives from left-to-right in the back row: Joe Heck, VP Business Transformation, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.; Mike London, chair, CUNA Lending Council, and CLO, Georgia United Credit Union, Duluth, Ga.; Gary Ferguson, VP Business Lending, Consumers Credit Union, Kalamazoo, Mich., Business Lending, Assets less than $1 billion; Charles Krawitz, VP Commercial Lending, Business Lending, Assets more than $1 billion; and from left-to-right in the front row: Heather Walter, CEO, Jefferson County Federal Credit Union, Louisville, Ky., Consumer Lending, Assets less than $250 million; Cliff Wantz, SVP Lending & Product, SPIRE Credit Union, Falcon Heights, Minn., Consumer Lending, Assets more than $250 million; Debra Hickman, Organizational Development, CALCOE Federal Credit Union, Yakima, Wash., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets less than $250 million; and Vickie Schmitzer, CEO, Frankenmuth Credit Union, Frankenmuth, Mich., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets more than $250 million.

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company and MEMBERS Life Insurance Company. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.
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