WALTHAM, Mass. – Having capital of 20.98% ranks Energy CU 30th among CUs in the category. But rather than considering the level too high, the $75.3 million CU is perfectly comfortable with it. In fact, says President/CEO Paul Noce, "We've been fortunate to be able to accumulate so much capital. We'd have too much capital if we weren't giving back to our members in the form of free services, but since we are I don't think our capital-to-assets ratio is too high. We still have things like free checking, free bill payment, free debit and Internet access. We're still paying 2% on share accounts and 1.5% on checking accounts." Noce continued to explain that providing as many free services to ECU's members-currently at 4,600-has always been a part of the credit union's strategy. "In our earlier years, we used to be a single sponsor credit union of Boston Gas Company and were called Boston Gas Employees Credit Union. A lot of our staff benefits were paid by the company, and we also had a favorable lease agreement with them to lease space in their building. Now we're a community credit union. We still lease space in the gas company's building, but we pay market-based rent and pay for our own employee benefits." Noce said ECU's high capital has been a "cushion lately for any unfortunate circumstances the credit union could face. ECU, for example, opened a new office in April in West Roxbury, "so we know we'll have higher operating expenses." In addition, the credit union doesn't know yet what it will be facing in the coming winter concerning fuel expenses. Even so, Noce is confident Energy CU's capital will go down. In fact he expected it to drop into the 17% range by the end of June. With the new branch opening in West Roxbury, Noce said new members will join the credit union, and that will mean higher assets for Energy CU.

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