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PENSACOLA, Fla.-The numbers say a lot about David Tuyo's achievements at Pen Air FCU, helping the credit union go from six basis points ROA when he arrived 26 months ago to 1% this year.

But the EVP/CFO, who just received NAFCU's Professional of the Year Award for credit unions with more than $150 million in assets, prefers to be recognized for the work he and the credit union have done to help members through a particularly tough economy here. Not only do members live and work in a Sand State, they have had to battle through the BP Gulf oil spill.

"We have gotten out in the community and taken a leadership role in helping everyone," said Tuyo. "We learned from the Alaskan oil spill about how such a tragedy can affect a community-it lowers everyone's spirits and can have devastating social effects. Through community events and programs, we are making sure everyone comes together, supports each other, and keeps a high level of morale. I have lived in many areas of the country that were affected by disasters-tornadoes, hurricanes-and this community has been very resilient."

The community has had no choice, as the financial support BP is providing affected residents is not what the oil company's commercials portray, according to Tuyo. "BP has not stepped up. They have paid out about $3.5 million in the last year and a half from its $20-billion fund. That's really pennies."

That has not only forced members to into an even more difficult struggle, but the $1.1-billion CU has had to work harder, as well. "A large part of our revenue from our services comes from businesses and people who are reliant on some form of tourism," said Tuyo.

Inside the CU Pen Air has been getting leaner under Tuyo's direction. Expenses have been cut and headcount reduced. "We are doing more with less and being extremely efficient in every way we can," shared Tuyo.

Last year Pen Air made 60 basis points of ROA after assessments. "The biggest thing is just understanding profitability and how we drive revenue at the credit union and the levers we can pull," explained Tuyo. "You have loan income, investment income, deposit income, and fee income. And we really focus on service. We have been very aggressive expanding our product line-we now offer everything from car insurance to home insurance to investments, asset management, and trust services. We have been successful across all fronts."

Despite the local economy, Pen Air has continued to focus on lending. "Our consumer loans have been growing rapidly, around 20% over the last couple years," said Tuyo. "Our car loans and personal loans have been growing exponentially and our credit card portfolio growth has been over 10% in the last two years. Our commercial and real estate portfolios have shrunk. Because of this downturn we do not want any part of those markets until we see some stability. We are originating mortgage loans but selling them off."

The net effect is that overall loan growth is about 2%, said Tuyo. "But we are growing loans year over year and that is not easily done in the Florida panhandle-not with the Gulf oil spill.

A Morale Builder

Tuyo, too, has helped to build morale and productivity within the CU with a social networking site he sponsored that has brought staff much closer together (see related story). Called The Hangar, Tuyo said it is the "Facebook of Pen Air." David Tuyo has "friended" 287 of the CU's 296 employees and is working to friend the newest hires. "We have virtually 100% of our employees participating in The Hangar."

The EVP/CFO started the "Green Committee," as well, at Pen Air, to develop socially responsible initiatives inside the credit union.

"That comes from my family lifestyle," said Tuyo. "We have two young children and my wife and I want to make sure they have a better world than we have. But it has been reported that for the first time in history the youth of America may grow up into a world in which things are worse than what their parents experienced. But if we all work together we can make sure that does not happen."

Tuyo is a big believer in teamwork, crediting the credit union's staff and leaders around him for Pen Air's ability to grow during the recession. "I received the NAFCU Award, but the employees here had everything to do with that. My staff, my CEO, the board, they all are exceptional and I learn by being around them every day."

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