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FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. – Talk about having an eventful year. Teachers FCU will remember 2005 for the many milestones the credit union enjoyed, not the least of which was celebrating its 53rd anniversary and increasing its assets 4.6% to reach $2.03 billion by year-end. That’s not all. TFCU also saw a 4.1% increase in deposits for the year to $1.78 billion, loans grew 12.9% to $932.2 million, and a continued emphasis by TFCU on expense control resulted in $25.7 million net income, bringing total capital to $248.3 million. In addition, TFCU experienced a further tightening of interest rate spreads as short-term rates steadily rose and long-term rates didn’t. Capping off 2005, for the eleventh consecutive year, TFCU declared a fourth quarter bonus dividend on regular share/savings accounts for all members. “Teachers FCU hit the $1 billion mark in 2001, so it took us 49 and a half years to get to that point, and only four more years to get another $1 billion in assets,” said TFCU President/CEO Robert Allen. The TFCU president credits several factors for the credit union’s success including its deposit and loan growth such as the “flight to safety” from the stock market when Wall St. went soft a few years ago. In addition he says TFCU has joined with other area credit unions in designing cooperative advertising to heighten consumers’ awareness of credit unions. TFCU currently has over 160,500 members and 450 employees. The credit union’s field-of-membership is very broad and centers around the Suffolk County, Long Island private, public and parochial school systems grades elementary through the university level. According to Allen, the population density of Suffolk County is 1.4 million. “Teachers FCU’s sister credit union in Nassau County is Nassau Educators FCU in Westbury. Historically, Nassau County has had a larger population, but Suffolk County has a larger geographic area, so as the population on Long Island shifted east now Suffolk County has the larger population,” Allen explains. What that means of course for Teachers FCU are more families in the Suffolk County school system. Coupled with employees in the school system and their families gives Teachers FCU a solid FOM for expansion growth. Another feature of Teachers FCU’s growth strategy has been its slow and steady expansion of facilities. The credit union currently has 13 full-service branches. A 14th is under construction and due to open by April 1, and TFCU just signed a lease on a 15th location that should open shortly after that. Supplementing its own brick and mortar facilities, TFCU belongs to the Universal Sharing Network (UsNet), the New York State Shared Service Centers. As of September 2005 there were 41 New York credit unions and 65 CU Service Centers in New York State operating in the UsNet. Allen noted that two CU Service Centers are on the campus of State University of New York Stony Brook, which is in TFCU’s FOM. In addition to its brick-and-mortar branches and involvement in UsNet, Teachers FCU also has opened in-school high school branches in the area. Allen said this strategy has not only allowed the credit union to bring in more youth accounts, but several students participate in TFCU’s intern program. In fact, several employees at the credit union came through that program. “It’s a great way for us to attract new and younger members and also to help the students acquire work skills,” says Allen adding this is particularly important since TFCU like most credit unions is seeing an aging of its membership. To help serve its baby boomers, TFCU offers pre-retirement and trust services and also participates in CUNA Mutual Group’s Members Financial Services program. The credit union has also trained some of its employees to do some insurance and annuity products. Among the other products Teachers FCU offers is a full array of loans including new and used vehicles, signature loans, credit cards, first mortgages and Fannie Mae products and home equity loans. It’s also a participant in CUNA’s Home Loan Payment Relief (HLPR) program. Of its $932.2 million loan portfolio, first mortgages (48%) and auto loans (13%) make up the biggest slice – the CU does auto loans both directly and indirectly through GrooveCar. As home values on Long Island continue to increase, Allen expects to see TFCU do more home equity loans. Another factor that has contributed to TFCU’s success leading up to 2005 is the tight rein Allen keeps on the CU’s expenses. He says the credit union has always been below its peer group operating expense ratios. “We watch our members’ money very closely. It’s their money, not ours. We do competitive bids on everything we purchase,” he explains. Looking ahead to the next five years, Allen expects the small business segment of its field of membership to grow and play a more important role in the CU’s bottom line. TFCU is an SBA-approved lender, and while the credit union hasn’t marketed heavily to its small business members in the past, Allen says he expects that to pick up. “A lot of teachers in our field of membership have other business ventures they run from home. Also we have five hospitals in our field of membership and many of the medical personnel need small business services,” he says. “Our field of membership is broad enough not to hamper our growth,” says Allen. “We have plenty of room to grow.” -

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