A day after Congressional lawmakers heard field testimony on foreclosure conditions in Nevada, the president of SONEPCO FCU of Las Vegas said Friday measures taken by her now-merged CU and others during the past year have kept underwater homeowner-members in their homes.
Susanne Longson, former head of the $59 million SONEPCO prior to its December takeover by SCE FCU of Irwindale, Calif., said delinquencies have been reduced to zero on a once-underperforming $9.5 million mortgage portfolio thanks to extraordinary efforts to work closely with members.
“I’d call that pretty amazing.” said Longson, who described what she said was a pro-active policy using credit scores and other data to keep ahead of problem credits.
Longson spoke Thursday at a U.S. House Financial Services Committee field hearing on the Nevada foreclosure crisis.
Longson, now vice president of the $502 million SCE FCU of Irwindale, Calif., which took over the troubled SONEPCO, said the California CU “kept all the employees and the branches and now we expect the computer conversion to be complete by April 30.”
In her testimony, Longson said prior to the start of the 2007-08 mortgage meltdown, CUs “rarely used the terms we frequently hear today with most having never processed a foreclosure, short-sale or loan modification.”
SONEPCO, she said, “has never foreclosed on a member during this financial crisis.”
And she added, “in SONPECO’s first 52 years of operation, our total loan losses were $1.3 million. Let me say that again, 52 years of operations – $1.3 million in losses. In the last four years, loan losses were over $4.8 million. For a $55 million credit union that is significant.”
As part of a CUNA push for member business legislation, Longson told the panel CUs can be instrumental in creating jobs if Congress passes legislation to lift the member business lending cap, along with supplemental capital legislation and a variety of other regulatory-related bills. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) thanked the CU industry for being "proactive with your members to solve delinquencies."