Source: CU Insight | Phil Tschudy | November 11, 2015

y-12 federal credit unionCUNA Mutual Group, CUNA Lending Council Celebrate Industry’s Business, Consumer, Low-to-Modest Means and Mortgage Lending Winners

Six credit unions were recognized for their exemplary lending Tuesday by receiving CUNA Mutual Group’s and CUNA Lending Council’s Excellence in Lending Award at the CUNA Lending Council’s 21st annual conference.

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

  • Boeing Employees’ Credit Union (BECU), Tukwila, Wash., Business Lending;
  • The Partnership Federal Credit Union, Arlington, Va., Consumer Lending, Less than $250M in Assets;
  • Ent Federal Credit Union, Colorado Springs, Colo., Consumer Lending, More than $250M in Assets;
  • Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union, Savannah, Ga., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Less than $250M in Assets;
  • GTE Financial, Tampa, Fla., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, More than $250M in Assets;
  • Y-12 Federal Credit Union, Oak Ridge, Tenn., Mortgage Lending.


Boeing Employees’ Credit Union (BECU), Tukwila, Wash. ($14 billion in assets) –Implemented an engagement strategy to connect with existing business members, based in its retail network and led by small business specialists charged with educating and coaching frontline personnel. They then built on that foundation with an “attract and acquire” investment, which included the hiring of business relationship managers with outbound responsibility. As a result BECU’s business loan balances grew from $88 million to $186 million in 2014, and as of Aug. 31, its portfolio had grown to $311 million.

CONSUMER – Less than $250 million in assets

The Partnership Federal Credit Union, Arlington, Va. ($144 million in assets) – Launched a “lending revolution” in early 2014 to redeploy staff and enhance technology to boost loan acquisition, retention, and yield in the wake of the Great Recession. Data analytics helped the credit union develop a variety of new products and services to improve member experience, including an open-ended loan to help credit-challenged members break their reliance on payday lenders; a self-service tool to reduce monthly auto loan payments by extending loan terms; and an interactive calculator to guide refinancing loan decisions. As a result, Partnership FCU saw 6.24 percent loan growth in 2014, the highest performance since the economic downturn, and annualized loan growth for 2015 topping 12 percent.

CONSUMER – More than $250 million in assets

Ent Federal Credit Union, Colorado Springs, Colo. ($4 billion in assets) – Made a concerted effort to identify opportunities to increase consumer loan approval with existing members while updating income requirements with the aim of reducing losses. Ent FCU worked collaboratively and focused on remote technology, expanding risk, and product development. The return on that collaborative planning and implementation was growth of more than 40 percent in indirect auto loans for 2014. Ent FCU set an internal record of funding $1 million or more per business day in indirect loans for an entire year (as of July), 38 percent in direct auto loans, and 18.5 percent in unsecured/personal loans.

LOW-TO-MODEST MEANS – Less than $250 million in assets

Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union, Savannah, Ga. ($83 million in assets) –Recognized financial hardship extends beyond individuals to their employees and communities. As a result, GHFCU partnered with two community groups, Step-Up Savannah and CCS, to implement the “Life Line Program” to offer small-dollar loans ($300 – $1,500) and financial education in concert with employees of local employers. Thus, providing a low-cost alternative to predatory lenders to help members save money, rebuild their credit standing, and establish a savings account for future use. Since launching the “Life Line Program” in May, GHFCU has grown membership and made life more affordable for 139 new members and approved loans totaling $185,000. Since 2014, GHFCU grew their loan portfolio by $8 million dollars (15.4 percent) and are on pace to exceed that in 2015.

LOW-TO-MODEST MEANS – More than $250 million in assets

GTE Financial, Tampa, Fla. ($1.6 billion in assets) – Committed to promoting community development, GTE Financial obtained low-income designation and community development financial institution (CDFI) certification to serve the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area. As a result, GTE Financial received two $1 million grants to provide capital for lending programs to expand auto, home and business ownership. Its five-year goal is to parlay those CDFI funds to more than $330 million in loans to more than 40,000 individuals, $125 million in small business loans, and first credit cards to 25,000 members.


Y-12 Federal Credit Union, Oak Ridge, Tenn. ($750 million in assets) – Upgraded its image to be a “can-do” home lender after an extensive review of its mortgage processes with input from members, staff and the real estate community. Y-12 FCU revised and streamlined its application process, developed new loan options, changed its approach for setting rates to be more competitive, and increased the marketing budget so loan officers could spend more time in the community building Y-12 FCU’s brand as a mortgage lender. As a result, Y-12 FCU grew its mortgage portfolio by more than $28 million in the first six months of 2015, and expanded its monthly average of loans in the pipeline from 37 to 81.

Judges for the 2015 Excellence in Lending Awards included:

  • Business Lending – Dale Frankhouse, director, business services, Sun FCU; Bob Stowell, SVP/COO, US FCU; Jon Bundy, senior manager, product management, CUNA Mutual Group.
  • Consumer Lending – Dona Svehla, SVP, retail lending/loss prevention, Grow Financial FCU; Aaron Bresko, EVP/CLO, GTE Financial; Patrick McElhenie, director, product management, CUNA Mutual Group.
  • Low-to-Modest Means – Vicki Lovett, CLO/SVP, lending, Suncoast Schools FCU; Tom Becker, SVP, lending, Hanscom FCU; Sue Racine, director, marketing, CUNA Mutual Group.
  • Mortgage Lending – Keith Reynolds, SVP, lending, CEFCU; Keith Troup, EVP/COO, Y-12 FCU; Chris Arenz, director, mortgage payment protection, CUNA Mutual Group.

All affiliated credit unions in the United States were eligible to win, except for credit unions that received an award within the last three years. Applications were evaluated on the credit union’s strategy, programs and performance, and awarded based on the credit union’s ability to serve members while sustaining sound financial performance for the year 2014.

The Excellence in Lending Awards program was established in 2000 by the CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group to identify, recognize and share examples of lending excellence within the credit union movement.