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The cost cutting among Arizona credit unions continued unabated last week with the $423 million Arizona Central Credit Union of Phoenix announcing the closing of one of its 12 branches in a follow up to staff cutbacks that have taken 40 jobs since 2008. Arizona Central, which has joined the ranks of troubled CUs in the state, said the shuttering of its Scottsdale branch on Nov. 25 comes as its payroll has now been reduced to 170 employees. Todd Pearson, president/CEO of Arizona Central, said despite the recession’s sharp impact on Arizona Central, which lost $6.8 million through the third quarter after witnessing $8.2 million red ink in 2008, the credit union maintains 8.2% capital and looks to a leveling of delinquencies in 2010. Pearson, who took over the Arizona Central helm in June, traced the CU’s problems to losses on the indirect auto portfolio linked to high unemployment. “We’re seeing some improving signs, and we’re optimistic for a turnaround,” said Pearson, citing new risk-management techniques coupled with stepped up collection efforts. The shuttering of the Scottsdale branch, he said, “is part of our ongoing efforts to control operating expenses and in this case that particular facility just was not performing as well as we had hoped.”

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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