Connexus Buys FILO
The $500 million Connexus Credit Union in Wausau, Wis., purchased Financial Institution Lending Options LLC, a company also based in the Badger State that provides credit unions with auto loans through pool sales, participation pools and whole loan flow sales.
Two of FILO’s founders, the $110 million Shoreline Credit Union in Two River, Wis., and the $242 million Guardian Credit Union in West Milwaukee, Wis., decided to sell their 100% stake in the firm, said J. David Christenson, Connexus president/CEO.
FILO current serves 22 Wisconsin credit unions. The deal, finalized Sept. 26, will expand relationships to dealers and credit unions in states bordering Wisconsin such as Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, said Jerry Briggs, FILO president/CEO.
Briggs said the ability to grow in other states has additional benefits. A member can live in Wisconsin but may choose to drive across the border to a particular dealer or shop online. Now, FILO will be able to see the cross-border transactions and the company can help members with their choices in different geographic locations.
The FILO purchase also means that it can help more small credit unions that might not have the resources to create and run indirect lending programs on their own, Briggs said. FILO’s clients range from $6 million in assets to $1 billion in assets, he added.
While the FILO’s purchase price was not provided, Christenson said Connexus believed so strongly in the company’s track record that in addition to the purchase the credit union plans to invest even more to keep the momentum going.
“We really like the indirect auto space. We’re committed to it,” Christenson noted.
The $87 million Southern Lakes Credit Union in Kenosha, Wis., has worked with FILO since 2008, said Troy Perlberg, chief operations officer. Since then, the credit union has grown its auto loan portfolio to $33 million. Delinquency and charge-offs are well below peer averages, he said.
“FILO is able to manage the dealer relationships and process applications at a pace that we would never be able to accomplish on our own, Perlberg said.
The economic collapse of Harley-Davidson, a select employee group of the $41 million FOCUS Credit Union in Wauwatosa, Wis., cut loan demand in half within 12 months, said Dean Wilson, president/CEO of the credit union.
To date, FILO has delivered FOCUS more than $10 million in new loans and Wilson said there have been no losses.