A small Portland credit union that won industry credit for undertaking voluntary PCA three years ago and rebounding in 2012, received new accolades Thursday from an Oregon regulator as an example of what good communication and dialogue can achieve with examiners.
“Yes, their management was caught off guard by what had happened but they did listen to what we had to say and were willing to communicate,” Janet Powell, program manager for Oregon’s Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, said of the $85 million Point West CU.
Point West celebrated its recovery last week from a near 2008-2009 failure when it got into trouble over problem loans and chargeoff record keeping.
A regulatory clampdown triggered an NCUA five-year financial restoration plan and recovery package that led to $1.1 million in profit last year and an increase in net worth from 3.68% in November 2009 to the current 6.05%. A year ago Point West lost $123,000.
“The pair of CEOs at Point West took the process seriously from the start, got the advice they needed on making a plan, and it has worked so far,” Powell said.
Powell was among officials recognized at the May 1 annual meeting of Point West used by its dual CEOs, Amy Nelson and Nick Hodson, as a platform to herald the credit union’s financial recovery.
Powell said her office conducted dual exams with the NCUA and met quarterly with Nelson and Hodson to monitor progress on the restoration package. She added that Point West “did the right thing in closing a branch on their own, eliminating staff, reducing risk and improving collections.”
“They’ve accomplished a lot,” she said, adding that she would like to see the credit union’s net worth ideally reach 8%.
The Oregon regulator said also she is familiar with industry complaints about examiner practices. “Good contacts and cooperation is the key,” she said.
Regarding the NCUA, she said she realizes negative behavior can occur, sometimes related to inexperience.
“So much needs to be done, there is less energy” on the part of credit union managers, she said adding, such scenarios can be overcome “if everyone does a better job of listening.”