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FLINT, Mich. – For an automotive credit union, the $223 million Financial Plus Federal CU is doing okay with a community charter after changing its name little more than a year ago. Indeed, the Flint-based CU, formerly West Side Auto Employees and which converted in September 2002, said it has seen its ratio of new members climb by a third from 1,800 to 2,900 a year and “we are now 96% loaned up,” said David McGrain, vice president of marketing. The high loan volume-bucking a national CU trend-was attributed to an effective indirect loan program on both autos and RVs, quick response time on loan approvals plus favorable rates on fixed rate mortgages. The 33,000-member Financial Plus, which serves employees of five General Motors plants from one office, also announced this week it will be opening its first branch next May on a site five miles from its headquarters. Land has been purchased for two more branches to open in 2005 and 2006, said McGrain.

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