News Briefs 09/19/07
Mountain America Marks Business Deposits, Commercial Real Estate Milestones
SALT LAKE CITY -- Since launching its business services program four years ago, Mountain America Credit Union has come into its own with two recent milestones.
The $2.2 billion credit union's business deposits have reached the $200 million mark. The milestone is the result of its ability to offer convenience and a wide array of accounts "at a lower cost and higher efficiency," said Jared Johnstone, vice president of business services.
Mountain America's commercial real estate department also hit a milestone recently with a total volume amount of $17.5 million achieved in July. The loans' successes are attributed to local, in-house underwriting and not having a pre-payment penalty, said Michael Turner, senior vice president of commercial real estate.
"We underwrite our loans locally in-house. We can process them more quickly than most financial institutions because our loan committee meets twice a week," Turner said. "And, we don't have a pre-payment penalty on our loans. The lack of a pre-payment penalty is a big incentive to most borrowers because many of them use commercial real estate as an investment vehicle and these properties are sometimes sold and resold. Without a pre-payment penalty, it allows borrowers to sell the property without a significant penalty."
Mountain America serves more than 250,000 members.
Oberbauer New CEO of San Diego County CU
SAN DIEGO -- Looking within its ranks, the $3.8 billion San Diego County Credit Union has found its new president/CEO, Irene Oberbauer.
Oberbauer took the helm of the credit union on Aug. 1. She has served at SDCCU in a number of capacities for the past 12 years, most recently as chief operating officer. Oberbauer succeeds Rod Calvao, who will retire this year after serving at the top spot for 15 years.
"It is an honor to be selected as the president and chief executive officer and to be succeeding such an outstanding leader in the industry," said Oberbauer on her upcoming appointment and Calvao.
Shirley Jackson, SDCCU board chair, credits Calvao for his "solid focus" in making the financial institutions one of the most admired in San Diego.
"While we are sorry to have Rod leave, we support him in his decision and wish him the best for this new chapter in his life," Jackson said.
On Oberbauer, Jackson said, "We are confident that her loyalty, commitment and true dedication to SDCCU will allow us to continue to experience more achievements and grow together."
SDCCU serves nearly 185,000 members.
Newtek Purchases Axeus Merchant Portfolio
NEW YORK -- Extending its product and service lineup, Newtek Business Services, Inc. has purchased a merchant portfolio from Axeus, Inc. a product and services provider that focuses on technology for small businesses and consumers.
The $2 million transaction involves approximately 1,000 national retail merchants through Carlsbad, Calif.-based Axeus, according to Newtek. The acquisition was brokered through the consulting firm of The Strawhecker Group.
"We are opportunistically looking to acquire portfolios at the right price and believe the market for these acquisitions may improve as credit conditions tighten," said Barry Sloane, chairman and CEO of Newtek.
Newtek counts credit unions among its clients and has a partnership with CUNA.
ABA Board Approves Merger with ACB
WASHINGTON -- The American Bankers Association Board announced that it has approved the proposed merger with America's Community Bankers.
ABA recently reported on its Web site (www.aba.com) that the move was approved unanimously, taking one step closer to creating a bigger, stronger force in Washington, D.C. for credit union trades to reckon with. Fully staffed, ABA has about 340 employees and ACB has 90. The two groups are not initially anticipating any lay offs but hiring for openings has been put on hold unless absolutely necessary. Some of the combination will be worked out through attrition and reassignment and some early retirements may be offered.
ACB, which has 1,002 member banks representing $1.7 trillion in assets, is scheduled to hold a member vote in October and, if approved, the merger should be completed in November. ABA does not publicly disclose its membership numbers. The new organization would retain the ABA name but rename its Community Banker Council America's Community Bankers Council. Ed Yingling will remain president/CEO of the combined ABA, while ACB President/CEO Diane Casey-Landry will become executive vice president/chief operating officer.
CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica, who has advocated a merger of CUNA and NAFCU, acknowledged that the combination of the two groups would make it an even stronger advocate for banks--and against credit unions. NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker has said it is just one less banking trade association to contend with but easing up on the ABA and ACB's anti-credit union work is unlikely.
When the proposed merger was first announced, Independent Community Bankers of America President/CEO Cam Fine called it "a great day for ICBA."
World Council Seeks Pictures of CU Members Worldwide
MADISON, Wis. -- The World Council of Credit Unions has struck upon a way to draw more attention to the impact credit unions have around the world.
The international organization has inaugurated a photo contest which it hopes will showcase the lives and work of members of credit unions worldwide.
The five winning photos will be showcased in a beautiful gallery setting at the 2008 World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong.
By sharing photos of credit union members in action--working, doing business at the credit union or simply spending time with their families--contestants can offer a glimpse into a world many people may not be able to see, WOCCU said when announcing the contest.
The photos will help credit unions around the world attach faces and names to the people they serve, WOCCU explained, using as an example a Bolivian family who started a business making and selling hats at their local market. A loan from their credit union made it possible to purchase more supplies and sell more hats.
All photos entered in the contest are eligible to be featured in various WOCCU publications such as its Web site, annual report, Credit Union World magazine and brochures.
Kinecta-Nix Deal Boosts Underserved Eligibility
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- Kinecta Federal Credit Union's acquisition of Nix Check Cashing resulted in some pretty impressive underserved area gains in last month's NCUA activity report.
The regulator approved the $3.9 billion Kinecta's field of membership expansion last month, which adds 5.5 million new eligible members in underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods.
The FOM expansion includes greater Los Angeles area suburbs of Rialto, Lancaster, Anaheim and Santa Ana, and several new zip codes in Los Angeles city proper. Defining each underserved neighborhood within reach of Nix's 55 retail outlets was no easy task; geographical descriptions of Kinecta's new Los Angeles zip codes filled 12 pages of the NCUA report.
Early reports estimate as many as 7,000 new members joined Kinecta last month; however, credit union officials say it's too early to determine how many of those were the result of the Nix deal.