Leading Lenders Lauded By Program

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Four credit unions with exceptional lending programs were presented with the CUNA Mutual Group's fourth annual Excellence in Lending Award at the CUNA Lending Council annual conference last week.

Jim McCourt of CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corp. presented awards in the consumer and mortgage lending categories to: H-E-B FCU in San Antonio, in the consumer category, less than $250 million in assets; John Deere Community CU in Waterloo, Iowa in the consumer category, more than $250 million in assets; Mayo Employees CU in Rochester, Minn. in the mortgage category, less than $250 million in assets; and United Nations, (UNFCU), New York, in the mortgage category, more than $250 million in assets;

CUNA Mutual, 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 award provides an opportunity for credit unions to share best practices and ideas, build networks, and recognize and celebrate lending excellence.

Reasons For Recognition

The $108-million H-E-B FCU was recognized for increasing its consumer lending volume by 13.7% in 2002, with a 47% increase in home equity loans and a 28% boost in credit cards. The credit union reached these numbers by transmitting educational/promotional lending material to store and office administrative assistants, using them as credit union ambassadors; centralizing its loan decisioning and offering immediate approval to qualified online applicants, 15-minute branch decisions and one-hour decisions for call center, fax, audio response and other online applications.

The $852-million John Deere Community Credit Union grew its loan volume by 19% in 2002, increasing its loan volume by $108 million over 2001. John Deere's success factors included: concentrating on member relationship management, and increasing the number of relationships with single-service households. John Deere leveraged its indirect lending program by turning non-members into new members with multiple relationships.

Big Volume In Short Period

The $191-million Mayo Employees Credit Union exceeded its income goal by 455% by closing 231 loans, totaling $31.7 million. Going into 2002, Mayo had only been in the first-mortgage business for one month. It finished 2002 as Minnesota's ninth-largest credit union first-mortgage lender. With only 1.5 employees, Mayo focused its efforts on handling as many loans as possible while maintaining a high-quality product and personalized member service.

The $1.75-billion United Nations FCU grew its mortgage-loan program by 19%, including a 36% increase in mortgage closings and a 34% increase in mortgage applications. To increase mortgage loan volume in 2002, UNFCU used an audience-targeted newsletter, in-branch collateral, its website, advertising in UN publications, and educational seminars.

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