The president/CEO of the $4.9 billion CEFCU in Illinois reaffirmed Tuesday a decision more than a decade ago to convert to a state charter has proved beneficial in spurring expansion.
“We have a good relationship with NCUA but our conversion to state charter has paved the way to develop dynamic geographic growth,” declared Mark Spenny, the head of the Peoria credit union.
He spoke to Credit Union Times on conversion trends following the upcoming fed-to-state switch by the $318 million GCS FCU of Granite City, part of metro St. Louis.
GCS said it was dropping the federal charter because of restrictive field of membership regulations.
CEFCU said its decade-old community charter and move to state regulation has helped it add new members and branches in three major metro areas of the state: Bloomington, Springfield and Decatur.
“And let me add that our recent joining the shared branching network was an important move for us, too,” said Spenny welcoming GCS into the state fold.
Spenny acknowledged that while online and mobile activity continues to bring about a decline in branch transactions, brick and mortar still appears important to the public.
“Branches have not gone away,” said Spenny. “A brick and mortar presence does provide a sense of security and stability.”
Meanwhile, Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for Roxanne Nava, director of the Illinois Division of Financial Institutions, said each credit union has its own reasons for making charter choices.
Hofer said former federally chartered credit unions, when asked why they switched to a state charter, cited reasons that include:
- “They appreciate being able to call and access their state regulators. ·
- “The field of membership” allows them flexibility to grow.
· * “State regulators work with state chartered credit unions on fees and fines. DFI does not issue 100% of fines when credit unions are facing financial challenges – we work with them.”