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NEW ORLEANS -For the fifth year, CUNA Mutual Group presented four credit unions with Excellence in Lending awards. The presentations were made Nov. 15 at the annual CUNA Lending Council conference. Two awards each were presented in the mortgage and consumer lending categories, in two asset groups. In the mortgage category: * Westerly Community CU won for less than $250 million in assets. The $142-million, 14,500-member CU uses Mortgagebot, a Web-based application tool that delivers loan decisions in minutes to streamline its lending operations. In 2003, Westerly Community’s mortgage resale revenue increased 71%, exceeding the CU’s goal by nearly three times what it projected. In addition, cross-selling produced a 12.5% increase in home equity loans and lines of credit. * Redwood CU won for more than $250 million in assets. With median home prices reaching $500,000 in Redwood CU’s Southern California field of membership, the $1-billion, 107,000-member CU found it was difficult for the average family in its FOM to afford to buy a house. Although 55% of Redwood’s members had a mortgage loan, only 5% had their loan with the CU. To garner more members’ mortgage loan dollars, Redwood added Web-based processing capabilities with refinance or purchase approval granted within minutes. The CU also reduced processing time from 43 days to 29 days. Redwood also launched a promotion campaign that marketed its new products. The CU’s budgeted goal for loan growth in 2003 was 13.4% or $37.5 million. After making the changes in its mortgage products, loans increased by 48.3% or $141.4 million. That represented a 276.9% increase for the year. In the consumer category: * Midwest United CU won for less than $250 million in assets. The $138-million, 32,000-member CU attributes its success to making it easy for members to apply for loans and get quick approval decisions. The CU uses a 24/7 call center to reach members outside usual business hours, and the CU’s staff closely tracks loan yield rates to make necessary adjustments to their risk-based pricing structure. Midwest United’s consumer loan growth in 2003 was 28%. At the end of the year, its ROA was 1.53, compared to its peer group average of 0.93%. Its yield on average loans was 7.5%, compared to 6.97% for its peer group. Midwest United’s home equity line of credit increased nearly 33%, and its signature loans increased 21% in 2003. * Mission FCU won for over $250 million in assets. Responding to the needs of members who were affected over the past two years by brush fires in Southern California – more than 2,400 homes were destroyed – Mission FCU funded $240,000 in low- or zero-percent loans for fire victims. The CU’s original goal of $46 million in consumer loan growth reached $143 million. The $1.8-billion, 128,000-member Mission FCU also offers recreational vehicle and luxury-category car dealers a new 20-year amortized loan product. Balances for these loans reached $8.8 million in 2003, a 27% increase over 2002. The CU also offered new student loan options, leading to a 330% increase in loan production in its first year, as well as implemented an automated, Web-based decisioning tool that helped Mission’s lending staff facilitate a risk-based pricing structure. -

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