Dismissing white knight depictions as overstated, John Tippets, the 70-year-old president/CEO of the near-failed North Island Credit Union in San Diego, warned anew Thursday his CU still faces a tough climb toward full recovery “since the economy continues to struggle and we are subject to forces beyond our control.”
The former American Airlines FCU head who retired from the Texas CU in 2008 and then took over North Island in November 2009 also revealed he might possibly try retirement again, perhaps next April.
“The annual meeting would be a benchmark but I will stay around as long as I am needed,” said Tippets, whose subordinates earlier this week praised the veteran CEO for his management prowess in helping to stabilize North Island over the last year and a half.
North Island recently reported $1.2 million in second-quarter net income, following up a positive report in the first quarter as well.
In downplaying his role, Tippets claimed he should not be given credit for what the CU’s senior management team, volunteers and the staff “achieved in reducing expenses well before I arrived.”
“They had already cut about 30% from $60 million of operating expenses in 2007 to where we were able to pencil in $41 million as we first forecasted 2010,” said Tippets.
And as the result of additional actions over the past 18 months,”our operating expenses for 2011 will be about $33 million,” he predicted.
In an interview, the San Diego CEO also contended the original estimated loan losses in earlier years had been overstated “amid the fog and fear of uncertainty” in a depressed economy.
“Gradually over the past two years, actual loss experience, reduced delinquencies and better trend lines have allowed for those numbers to be corrected,” he said.
Tippets said the California economy has shown only slight improvement in recent months and North Island like other CUs and banks is subject to the “unknown.”
Unemployment remains high, the funds crisis exists at the county and state level, the “consumer is at a high level of debt, not to mention upside-down housing,” said Tippets. “It would be very naive for me to say things look rosy.”