In a phrase, the $810 million Arkansas Federal Credit Union, the state's largest, has "stuck to its knitting" ending 2010 by meeting a five-year goal to double assets, its CEO reported Friday.
Larry Biernacki, who heads the Jacksonville CU, with 9% capital, credits the asset surge in part to the success of an indirect auto/cycle CUSO which has helped spur a 15%-18% growth rate.
"We don't do the stupid loans, we stay away from the exotic deals and we have an outstanding staff that understands that it's all about serving the members," said Biernacki, long a vigorous advocate for CUs adhering to strict loan standards.
The payoff, he insists, comes in the credit union witnessing a doubling of its $400 million assets since 2005 "and we did that with just one merger of a $1 million credit union."
Biernacki said his state has hardly been spared the recession fallout, adding that he sympathizes with "fellow sand state CEOs who have had to endure so many bad hits from real estate." He said he is simply amazed that neighboring Texas has fared so well during the crisis, and though Arkansas has 8% unemployment "we never experience the highs or lows of any recession."
As for the indirect program and the 28-CU, statewide lending CUSO, Arcuso LLC, he said Arkansas FCU "keeps expectations with dealers low and we don't compromise the standards."
"This is simply not rocket science," he added with a laugh.