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<p>CU Times Editor-in-Chief FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Dana FCU has always prided itself on being a provider of low-cost products and services to its members. It now has community development credit union status and that, says the $158.7-million CU’s president, makes Dana’s mission statement all the more important. While Fort Wayne is a hub bub of activity from five of the largest credit unions in the state, including Dana FCU which is the fifth largest, the same cannot be said for rural areas in nearby states. Residents of the rural areas around Corinth, Miss., located in the northern part of the state a short distance from the Tennessee border and about 70 miles east of Memphis, Tenn., are accustomed to driving great distances to get to most stores and other places of business. “You might drive 25 miles or more through wooded areas,” says Dana FCU’s President/CEO William Hannah. There have been plenty of banks in the area, and now since Dana FCU was awarded CDCU status last November and set up a branch in Corinth, it is the only credit union providing services to the CDCU area of Northeast Mississippi and three counties of Tennessee. Hannah is particularly proud of the fact that Dana’s Corinth, Miss. branch is full-service, just like the credit union’s other 12 branches in Indiana are. Those include the 10 physical brick and mortar locations and two locations inside Meijer stores. The credit union also has branches in Gastonia and Morganton, N.C., and South Beloit, Ill. New and used vehicle loans make up more than half of Dana FCU’s $113.8 million loan portfolio, and in Corinth that includes a lot of 4-wheelers. motorcycles and farm machinery. The Corinth branch also offers credit and debit cards and features a drive-up facility and an ATM. Dana FCU is a member of the Indiana Alliance Group surcharge-free ATM network, which opens up almost 800 other branch locations to the credit union’s membership. The credit union owns 15 of its own ATMs, and has a site consultant doing site checking for the six more ATMs the credit union wants to install. Hannah sees reaching out to serve the underserve as not only being good for consumers but also for the credit union and ultimately its members. “Because of the concentration of large credit unions in Ft. Wayne, this area is very competitive for credit unions,” said Hannah. “By reaching out to serve the underserved, what we’ve ultimately done is for the long term made Dana FCU more viable as a financial institution.” Hannah said he doesn’t see Dana’s credit standards being “relaxed” by its new CDCU status. The CU offers what he prefers to call “reward-based lending” which rewards members who have better credit records with lower interest rates. The phrase “risk-based lending” has too much of a negative connotation, said Hannah. Dana FCU’s delinquency rate last year was .99, and Hannah said that’s the highest its been in about 10 years. He attributed the unusually high rate to the economic times all credit unions are dealing with. Dana’s delinquency rate is typically about 0.4. Hannah said he’s not sure the name “Dana FCU” fits “who we are today,” but he admits he reluctant to propose that the credit union change its name. “Our name is more meaningful now than it was back when we were first chartered in 1946 and our primary sponsor was Dana Corp. The credit union changed its name from Dana Corp. FCU in the 1970′s. Its FOM also includes about 200 SEGs. Hannah said he wouldn’t “have a problem” if other credit unions decide to serve the same CDCU area Dana FCU has and open branches in Corinth or anywhere else. “It will give members choice and more access to more services,” said Hannah. He likes to use the phrase “duality of membership,” and that’s fine with him. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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