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Showing that credit unions are not exempt from the impact of a struggling economy, three credit unions recently announced staff cuts.The $253 million Members Cooperative Credit Union in Cloquet, Minn., announced a restructuring that will eliminate 12 employees.Members Cooperative President/CEO Tammy Heikkinen said in a press release, “We have always been and continue to be strong and secure, with a significant capital base. Yet, like most financial institutions, we are not immune from today’s economic pressures.”The credit union also promoted three employees to new management positions as part of the restructuring.The $958 million Altura Credit Union based in Riverside, Calif., made the announcement that it will cut 35 jobs, close two branches and transition a third branch to be fully electronic.In the past year, Altura eliminated 27 open positions, which makes the total number of eliminated positions account for 20% of the credit union’s workforce.Out of the 35 positions, 16 were branch positions and 19 were at Altura’s headquarters.The San Jacinto branch will close May 5, the Coachella branch will close May 7, and the Corona branch will become an electronic branch on May 6.“This has been the most difficult decision we’ve ever made and we didn’t want to do a nickel and dime cut and then in a few months do it again,” CEO Mark Hawkins said.One of the main drivers behind the decision, according to Hawkins, was NCUA’s take over of U.S. Central and WesCorp, which Hawkins said he anticipates will have an added charge for Altura in excess of $9 million.Altura also reduced benefits and compensation for all employees.At the beginning of the month, the $186 million Keys Federal Credit Union in Key West, Fla.. cut its staff following the advice of outside efficiency consultants. The credit union said the consultants started looking at the credit union operations in August 2008.Though the credit union would not say how many employees it had before the cuts, Watson said in an article published on the Florida Keys news Web site, www.keysnet.com, that the credit union now has approximately 60 employees.Requests for interviews were not returned from Members Cooperative and Keys Federal as of press time.Data from Callahan and Associates has shown that the total number of credit union employees has grown over the past few years, though the percent of annual growth declined sharply between fourth-quarter 2007 and fourth-quarter 2008.–[email protected]

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