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LAS VEGAS – Members continue to reap the benefit of credit union success in 2005 through dividends. The $525 million Clark County Credit Union has probably set an industry record with its $12.4 million dividend issued to its 36,000 members is on Jan. 5. The average payment per member was $342.59, with the highest single payment totaling $51,000, according to the CU. In addition to doubling last year’s $5 million dividend payout, the first ever double-digit dividend payment in CCCU history may be the highest across the country for 2005, the CU said. The dividend was based on the amount of interest paid or earned by each of the 36,000 members. “There were several factors in 2005 that enabled us to have such a phenomenal year,” said Wayne Tew, CCCU CEO. “A combination of favorable interest rates during the year, a booming real estate market, our first foray into commercial lending, and a slower deposit growth rate all provide more income and capital growth for the credit union.” The money that goes back to members has become the defining feature that sets CCCU apart from other Southern Nevada credit unions said Mark Andrews, vice president of sales and marketing, adding “the dividend payment is (CCCU’s) most powerful marketing tool.” “With a (SEG)-based credit union like CCCU, members talk to each other at work, and out in the community,” Andrews said. “This internal networking encourages member retention and aggregated deposits and loans, meaning more efficiency in the overall operation of the business. It’s the opposite of a vicious cycle – it’s a beneficial cycle that reinforces member loyalty and SEG penetration.” According to CFO Roy Holmstrom, CCCU can also attribute its monumental year to several other factors. “We experienced growth in our loan portfolio, our real estate sales group had a huge year, and our expense controls and investments did better than we budgeted,” Holmstom said. “We are cutting costs all year long, not increasing fees and lowering investment rates to pad our dividend payment, as many other financial groups do.” Credit union members have caught onto the excitement of increasing the dividend payment each year, and they are doing their part to make CCCU more efficient. Holmstrom said that the financial institution experienced lower than budgeted loan losses in 2005 since people are paying back their loans on time, which resulted in an additional savings of $600,000 for loss reserves. The interest is so great that credit union officers report that members often double check how a payment or a new policy will affect their dividend payment. At least one member sees the dividend is a “perk” of belonging to CCCU. Bob Vadasy, a long-time CCCU member, received an electronic deposit for over $6,500 for his share of the dividend payment, according to the CU. “The bonus dividend payout is definitely an added perk of being a member of CCCU,” said Vadasy, a police captain for the Henderson Police Department. “This year my bonus dividend is going to pay for the finishing touches on my vacation home in Montana.” Indeed, the “dividend payment has become something that we are known for and our members are dedicated to making it possible year after year,” Tew said. -

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