The NCUA said Friday it has released the $755 million Arrowhead Central Credit Union from conservatorship after nearly three years, marking the first time a credit union has done so since 2007.
A 10-person NCUA-recruited advisory board is now serving as the San Bernardino, Calif., credit union’s new Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee.
NCUA Public Affairs Specialist John Fairbanks said he could not name the board members because it’s the credit union’s decision to make them public.
Arrowhead Vice President of Marketing Emily Friesen said Arrowhead would likely make that information public, but was not able to immediately provide a list of names.
The group conducted its first board meeting on Thursday. Current financials reported to the new board include a net worth ratio of 10.5%, quarterly net income of $5.6 million, and membership of more than 116,000.
“Today Arrowhead Credit Union has shown its members that, just like them, we are resilient. Our most important role is providing our members with excellent service, and that will continue tomorrow just as it did yesterday,” Darin Woinarowicz, Arrowhead president/CEO, said in a statement.
“This is an extraordinary success story resulting from an extraordinary effort,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz in its statement.
“When the credit union was on the brink of failing in June 2010, the NCUA, working with the California Department of Financial Institutions, placed Arrowhead into conservatorship. From day one, we were dedicated to restoring sound operations and safeguarding members’ hard-earned money.”
The NCUA said when it took control of Arrowhead, the credit union’s net worth ratio was down to 3.0% and falling fast. The credit union was on pace to lose nearly $4 million in 2010, the regulator said.
Since then, Matz said, “NCUA staff, a new leadership team, and our Advisory Board of 10 dedicated volunteers did a remarkable job getting Arrowhead on the path toward recovery.”
Matz said that involved focusing on Arrowhead’s core business, strengthening loan underwriting, controlling costs and steadily following the NCUA-approved Net Worth Restoration Plan.
“This historic success story was made possible thanks to years of tireless, collaborative efforts,” Matz concluded. “NCUA staff, the California Department of Financial Institutions, Arrowhead’s interim and current management teams and staff, the new Board of Directors, and members never wavered in their commitment to save this credit union. Together, we pulled Arrowhead from the brink of insolvency to become a strong credit union again, providing essential financial services for its community.”
Former President/CEO Larry Sharp, an outspoken NCUA critic who was ousted along with the board in the June 30, 2010 conservatorship, had objected to the intervention and had the support of some industry leaders. He admitted to Credit Union Times that Arrowhead was struggling after the Inland Empire region suffered major job losses and home values plummeted; however, he said the credit union was on the road to recovery. The NCUA said Sharp’s performance projections were too optimistic.
Arrowhead, established in 1949, is a federally insured, state-chartered credit union that operates 11 branches and said it is the largest credit union in California’s Inland Empire. Membership is open to individuals and their family members who live, work, worship or attend school in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.