NEW YORK – Because it focuses a lot on larger business loans-namely taxi medallions-Progressive Credit Union has grown its capital to be the highest in the country through repetition and scale. “It isn’t necessarily that credit unions choose to carry so much capital so much as a function of: We’re a very profitably credit union,” Progressive CEO Robert Familant said. He explained that his credit union has a very low loss ratio; makes large business loans, which is very economical from a personnel point of view; and they have a low overhead. He also touted Progressive’s competitive rates. “So it feeds upon itself,” Familant stated. According to Callahan & Associates, $308.5 million Progressive holds $145.8 million in capital for a ratio of 47.25%. He added that the credit union has not achieved this level of capital at the expense of member dividends. Familant said that Progressive was offering 5% on its one-year CD, 5.15% at 15 months, and 5.4% five years out. The credit union offers free checking and checks and even provides flu shots free of charge. “We did not earn it at the expense of our members. We earned it because we were serving our members,” he asserted. Progressive has about 60% of its business in taxi medallions, which are around $400,000 each and are relatively easy to process once you get the hang of it. Familant said these loan rates are very competitive at 7% to 7.25%. He also indicated that his members are not wealthy. “I would venture to guess that many of our small business people are just that, small businesses,” he said. When asked whether he felt any pressure from examiners to maintain a higher than average capital level, Familant replied, “As a credit union that has a is reasonable to expect more capital.”

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