HARRISBURG, Pa. – The lending paradigm has changed, and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association wants to arm credit unions with the know-how and necessary resources to be able to compete in the evolving lending environment. That will be the job of a task force to be formed by the PCUA to examine changes in lending delivery channels and how credit unions in the state can adapt to those changes to meet members’ needs and grow their loan portfolios. PCUA Board of Directors’ decision the week of Aug. 18 to form the task force was in response to the board’s recognition of the need to rethink how credit unions have traditionally approached lending and how PCUA can help credit unions of all sizes leverage the new lending paradigm. “Credit unions have traditionally made plain vanilla loans tied to asset liability management processes and the timing of deposits. But if you look at credit unions’ balance sheets, you can see that getting good quality loans in a sizeable volume has been a challenge for most credit unions even though some have looked at creative ways such as member business loans, loan participation and third-party lending to be fully loaded,” said PACUA Vice President Communications and Marketing Mike Wishnow. Lack of resources have been a large part of problem, said Wishnow, but that’s not totally to blame. There’s also been a philosophical problem some credit unions have had to contend with to get beyond just doing consumer loans. Wishnow said the board’s intention is to put together a group of “top notch credit union people from around the state as well as some staff from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association who can think outside the box about the kinds of lending products and services credit unions need to compete and what role the Association can provide.” At press time, members of the task force had not yet been named. Wishnow said he expect that would happen in the “next week or two.” The PCUA Board’s decision at its annual planning session to form a lending task force was actually one of several broad objectives the board reached for PACUA management as part of its two-year plan. Among some of the other objectives were directing management to highlight the impact of expected further consolidation of CUs on PACUA’s and affiliated companies’ revenue streams; set a goal to raise $150,000 for PACUA’s Political Action Committee by 2005; set up a task force in 2004 to review PACUA’s education and training role; ask the PACUA’s governance task force to review the way board directors will be elected in 2005. -

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