DENVER -- Credit unions are moving with caution and compassion in providing loan relief to financially-strapped members during the turmoil, according to the newly elected head of the National Association of Credit Union Chairmen.
Speaking here during NACUC's annual Roundtable Conference, Howard Spencer of Michigan said it is "heartening" that the priority topic at the Oct. 24-26 meeting was how the industry is responding to the national crisis with products that go far in helping restore financial health of members.
"I was pleased to hear so many of my peers doing everything they possibly can in helping their members stave off bankruptcy," declared Spencer in detailing loan restructuring, 'skip-a-payments' and interest-only programs.
Spencer, chairman of the $220 million Northland Area FCU of Oscoda, Mich., said the eased loan terms come as CUs, particularly in his home state, struggle with lower earnings amidst a bleak economic picture. Yet many like his own retain healthy capital ratios at 12% or higher.
"The economic picture in Michigan remains depressed but we're doing our part to help our members pull through this very tough period," said Spencer noting what is being done across the country and relayed at the volunteer meeting "both surprised and thrilled me."
Voicing his own views, Spencer said he hopes that one day the NCUA Board can be expanded beyond the existing three directors "to allow more diverse opinions and as a backup" in case one of the board jobs become vacant as has occurred over the years.
Also at the conference, delegates were provided details about NACUC's revamped Web site (www.nacuc.org) and "Online Forum" in which chairmen can post their comments and opinions. An accompanying message board allows volunteers to exchange ideas. Members also have expressed an interest in establishing a listserv, set to launch in the next few weeks.