Four credit unions awarded for lending excellence at CUNA Lending Council

CUNA Mutual Group, CUNA Lending Council Celebrate Industry’s Consumer, Business Lending Winners

SAN DIEGO, CA (November 3, 2014) — Four credit unions were recognized for their exemplary lending Monday by receiving CUNA Mutual Group’s and CUNA Lending Council’s Excellence in Lending Awards at the CUNA Lending Council’s 20th annual conference.

Andrea Stritzke, director of lending compliance, CUNA Mutual Group, presented the awards to:

CONSUMER – Less than $250 million in assets

Carter FCU, Shreveport, La., ($230,000+ million in assets; 30,000+ members) – Chartered in 1954 by Floyd Carter of International Paper Company, Carter FCU still today remains true to Carter’s vision by providing value throughout members’ life stages and the communities they serve. Carter significantly grew its more profitable direct lending program while maintaining a moderate indirect lending channel.

With the financial well-being of its members in mind, CFCU 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 percent 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.

CONSUMER – More than $250 million in assets

Clearview Federal Credit Union, Moon Township, Penn., ($900 million in assets; 86,000 members) – A credit union with its roots in the airline industry, for years Clearview FCU had struggled to get its lending program off the ground. With the help of a lending consultant, Clearview changed its ways in flight in a way that celebrates successes; keeps employees informed, engaged, and empowered; and provides real solutions for its members. Members took a liking to revamped home equity products that are flexible and priced more competitively.  Clearview also streamlined the home equity turnaround time from four-to-six weeks to 10-14 days.  Those and other improvements have resulted in double-digit loan growth in 2013 and the trend continued in 2014 with loan balances growing 18.87 percent year over year.

BUSINESS – More than $250 million in assets

Numerica Credit Union, Spokane Valley, Wash., ($1.3 billion+ in assets; 103,000+ members) – Numerica CU wanted to better serve small businesses and knew doing so meant being more organic. So, it hired experienced commercial loan officers and credit personnel and purchased appropriate software to set for more home-grown business lending. The credit union began focusing on originating high-quality loans through its loan officers or from branch referrals, versus through brokers. In addition to tapping existing members, Numerica connected with the community through outreach and marketing efforts. Numerica now has the largest member business lending portfolio in its market. At year-end 2013, MBLs totaled $232 million, a 123 percent increase in four years.

BUSINESS – Less than $250 million in assets

Highmark FCU, Rapid City, S.D., ($95 million+ in assets; 9,500+ members) –– This low-income designated credit union has ambitious business lending goals and a solid plan in place to reach those goals. Highmark serves parts of South Dakota and Wyoming, expects a third of its total lending portfolio to be comprised of MBLs by 2018. That plan is expected to increase membership, diversify HFCU’s loan portfolio, aid ALM goals and help meet profitability targets.  In addition to investing in employees and technology, HFCU is adding a personal touch to its focus on small businesses and ag producers. Staff will make “house calls” to bring business members’ banking needs to them so they can avoid time away from their businesses. In 2013, HFCU increased its MBL portfolio goal by 135 percent from 2012. Within the credit union’s regional peer group, competitors’ MBL portfolios increased 4.7 percent compared to Highmark’s 158 percent growth rate.

Judges for the 2014 Excellence in Lending awards included: Consumer Lending  — Fawn Terwilliger, VP, 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.

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.

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.

CUNA Mutual Group was founded in 1935 by credit union pioneers, and our commitment to their vision continues today. We offer insurance and protection for credit unions, employees and members; lending solutions and marketing programs; TruStageTM-branded consumer insurance products; and investment and retirement services to help our customers succeed. More information is available on the company’s website at

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. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.

Photo Caption: Four credit unions were recognized for their exemplary lending Monday by receiving CUNA Mutual Group’s and CUNA Lending Council’s Excellence in Lending Awards at the CUNA Lending Council’s 20th annual conference.

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 standing) 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.

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