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CU Times names Tailblazers at CUNA GAC

For eight years, the Credit Union Times magazine names Trailblazers in the credit union industry. This year three of the eight winners hail from Alabama or Florida. The winners were announced during the CUNA GAC last week.

The three winners from Alabama and Florida are:

Brancucci was honored for his vision for the credit union which included changing the brand to reflect "financial" in the name and not FCU.

“No question it was the right decision to make,” Brancucci told the Times. “To me, it was interesting to hear all the academic discussions and in some respects, the histrionic discussions. But I can tell you the pundits were absolutely incorrect. We’re talking about having engaged members.”

The rebranding worked as GTE Financial saw more than 16,000 new members in 2012, plus loan growth was back. Overall, the credit union went from negative 5.42-percent loan growth in 2011 to 16.6 percent- growth in 2012. Also, the credit union closed more than 1,700 HARP loans totaling more than $213 million and saved members over $70 million in interest and new and used vehicle loans skyrocketed from negative 11.29 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2012 with a portfolio that increased substantially from $204 million to nearly $348 million during the same time period.  

Mashburn has helped Listerhill become a well respected credit union for its innovative initiatives like its campus card program at the University of North Alabama, where some 7,000 new members can integrate their student IDs with their Listerhill accounts. In addition, in two years the credit union’s “The Hill” accounts for 15-29-year-olds has jumped from 2,082 to 5,562. The “So Can You” promotion resulted in over $104 million in loans.

“As marketers, our purpose is to communicate to and on behalf of our members. We are their advocate,” Mashburn told the Times. “We are not in the business of putting promotions together but solving problems. That may mean we do a promotion, but ultimately it’s to help solve a problem.”

Svehla is the senior vice president of retail lending and loss prevention. A position she came to 18 months ago not through the lines of underwriting or marketing but instead from collections, an area that she considers a largely undervalued and misunderstood part of making and servicing loans.

“Understanding and correctly managing a collections program is an absolutely essential part of any healthy lending program, whether you are making personal loans, credit card loans, auto loans or mortgage loans,” Svehla told the Times.

At its worst, in 2010, 3.92 percent of Grow’s loans were worth 2.94 percent of its assets and 2.04 percent of its average loans were charged off. The numbers dropped the past two years to where 2012 ended with 2.12 percent of the credit union’s loans, or 1.40 percent of its assets, delinquent and 1.46 percent of its average loans were charged off.

“We evaluate our loans across their entire life cycle, and that includes collections” Svehla said.

You can read the full CU Times article about all three winners by clicking the link by their name.