FOM Strategies Are Shared

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More than 170 people turned out for the latest PALS workshop here last week to discuss effectively serving everyone within the FOM.

Hosted by NCUA board member Debbie Matz, the Partnering And Leadership Successes (PALS) workshop featured three panels and almost a dozen presenters sharing strategies (see related item, page six). The Credit Union Journal will feature broad coverage in an upcoming issue, but among the insights shared were:

Bruce Blumfield, CEO of the $1.2-billion Founders FCU, said he has certainly seen and felt the changes in the rural South Carolina community served by his CU, and is actively taking steps to reach out to a burgeoning Hispanic population, including paying a premium to new hires from Mexico, Guatamala, the Dominican Republic and other countries.

* Lloyd Gill, COO of City County Credit Union, in Margate, Fla., shared his credit union's experience in opening a used car dealership. The CU's AutoBranch, which is also a shared service center, is being credited for generating significant loan volume and even some new members. It also works with other local credit unions in South Florida.

* R. Marshall Boutwell, CEO of the $84-million Gwinnett FCU in Lawrenceville, Ga., credited much of GFCU's recent growth to a pocket of Bosnian refugees that it discovered quite by accident. The Bosnian immigrants, he said, have been responsible for 15% of GWFCU's growh.

* Andrews FCU has a slightly different approach in deciding where it will expand: it seeks "communities that we believe in." To that end the Suitland, Md.-based credit union is expanding into Washington, D.C. with plans for branches into a number of lower-income communities, and is forming local advisory groups in each new market to provide input to AFCU.

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