After a net loss of $12.8 million in 2010, the $1.2 billion Kern Schools Federal Credit Union in Bakersfield, Calif., declared 2011 its best year for financial performance since 2007. The CU announced a net income of $22.4 million for 2011 and a net worth ratio that jumped from 4.31% in June 2010 to 7.73% in December 2011.

How did Kern Schools FCU turn red ink to black? The credit union said it made a painful operating expense reduction of more than $6 million, which included closing seven branches and cutting around 27% of its staff, and brought in a new vice president of collections who could whip its loan portfolio into shape.

President/CEO Steve Renock said when he began his current position at the end of 2009, he made the decision to reduce the credit union's expenses amidst a rough local economic climate.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.