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MIAMI – CUNA Mutual Group presented its Excellence in Lending Awards on the opening day of its 2005 CUNA Lending Council Conference to four credit unions in recognition of their outstanding lending programs. Receiving the awards in the consumer category were: * less than $250 million in assets – Heritage FCU, Rutland, Vt., $116 million in assets, 20,000 members. It implemented a risk-based lending system and a sales-and-service culture in 2004. The CU set a goal of 15% consumer loan growth for 2004 and exceeded that with a 35.9% combined increase in auto and recreational vehicle loans, HELOCs, and credit cards. The CU saw a 34.3% increase in used-car loans, most of which the CU said was taken from competitors. Heritage’s HELOC volume grew nearly 55% in 2004 * more than $250 million in assets -BECU, Tukwila, Wash., $5.2 billion, 422,000 members. The CU attributed a risk-based pricing program, simplified indirect auto loan decisioning, and the introduction of a HELOC that members can convert into separate closed-end, fixed rate loans, to seeing its consumer loans increase “dramatically” in 2004. New-auto loan volume increased almost 103%. In the mortgage lending category, the winners were: * less than $250 million in assets – MCAS Beaufort FCU, Beaufort, S.C.’s overall home equity volume in 2004 was up 31.3%, compared to an average growth of 13.9% among other CUs of similar asset size. Outstanding balances on HELOCs grew 26.8%, compared to 13.3% for its peer group, and MCAS Beaufort’s total real estate loan growth for 2004 was 25.5% * more than $250 million in assets -Municipal Employees CU of Baltimore, Md. The CU works closely with its largest sponsor, the city of Baltimore, to help improve the quality of life of the city’s population through home ownership, and MECU budgeted for a 7% increase in mortgage growth in 2004. To help achieve and ultimately exceed its goal, MECU offered a simplified HELOC process to all qualifying first mortgage applications. The initiative generated $16 million above its budget, for a 9.8% increase over 2003. Outstanding HELOC balances increased 33.6% in 2004. Four credit unions receive Excellence in Lending Awards annually, two each in consumer and mortgage lending for CUs with less than $250 million in assets and those with more.

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