Pox on Robo Lending
As treasurer/CEO of a small ($1.8 million assets, 500 members) credit union, I can wholeheartedly endorse many of the excellent points made by Bill Brooks in the Oct. 13 opinion article, "We Need to Fix the Broken CU Model." The loan processes utilized by a growing number of large, mainstream credit unions increasingly leave behind those most needing credit union loans, even though such members are very likely to be good borrowers and make the required payments on time.
His description of the lending process in a growing number of credit unions as using "heartless computer-generated models" matches what we see at the Queen of Peace Arlington FCU. Just in the last few months, we made an auto loan to a young person (with an excellent job) turned away by his employer-related credit union, even though a parent with a 750 credit score was willing to co-sign and the loan was secured by a car title. We made loans (secured by car titles) to a family turned away by a very large credit union serving federal employees and the military. We made a personal loan to a member half a continent away whose credit card rate was increasing to 29.99% even though she had a credit score in the mid 700s and never had any history of any late payments on any loan on her credit report. A local mainstream credit union turned her down completely. There are others as well who are, increasingly, turned away by large credit unions.
Yet we hear the CEOs of these large credit unions cry the blues about wanting and needing to make more loans. I say that there are loans right there, among your members and potential members, that would be good loans with a positive return to the financial bottom line. Your process, however, tosses these loans aside.
I challenge the CEOs of large, mainstream credit unions to spend a few hours and look at their list of rejected loans and see if their sterile, automated process is rejecting good loans to people who need the help and support of the credit union.
Queen of Peace Arlington FCU