Arrowhead Earnings Report Stirs Scrutiny, Jabs From Ex-CEO
The improved earnings picture for the NCUA-conserved Arrowhead Credit Union of San Bernardino, Calif., drew a critical jab from its former president/CEO Larry Sharp, who charged again that regulators acted hastily and arbitrarily in seizing the CU last June.
Citing what he said were puzzling and “ridiculous” aspects of the earnings statement showing a disproportionate high level of reserve allowances in light of a basically stable economic base,
Sharp said the NCUA had acted needlessly in “seriously harming a wonderful franchise.”
In its latest report, Arrowhead said it earned $3.9 million in the first quarter, slightly above year ago figures though losing $3.7 million during 2010. A year earlier Arrowhead lost $47 million.
Sharp, who along with the board was ousted by NCUA in the June 30, 2010 conservatorship, acknowledged his CU struggled greatly prior to the NUCA takeover in a depressed economy and the Inland Empire housing bust but that the CU had already taken the right steps toward financial recovery.
Sharp, who told Credit Union Times that Arrowhead “will never be the same” after losing stature in the community, maintained the NCUA seizure was ill-advised considering a number of the statistics evident in the report, including the allowance figures.
He said the NCUA failed to consider the basic economic strength of the area with many large stable corporations “encompassing our membership” despite the 14% to 15% unemployment rate in the area.
In a statement responding to Sharp, David W. Small, assistant director of public affairs, said Arrowhead “continues to experience high loan losses and has significant risk exposure in its loan portfolio.” Its net worth is at 3.91%, up from 3.44% in December.
Small said NCUA’s independent CPA audit agrees with the agency’s “current methodology calculating loan and lease losses” and “given the continued high unemployment in the area and the credit union’s high risk profile, the reserving is reasonable.”
Sharp questioned the small drop in the allowance for loan losses at $49.5 million a year ago compared to $47.8 million in the first three months, a 3½% decline against loan delinquencies dropping from $20 million to $10 million.
Sharp, who became vice president of advancement at Cal State University in San Bernardino after leaving Arrowhead, said he misses being in the CU industry after 40 years but at the same time enjoys his new job working with community groups and students. “It’s a real kick,” he said.