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L-R: Rick Schmidt, CEO of WestStar CU; Richard Holloway, CEO of Alta Vista CU; and Ray Shams, Chief Lending Officer for Xceed Financial FCU

LENDING'S NEW AGE: BEYOND THE SCORE
updated 01/28/14 09:05 AM
A 'Huge Potential' for CUs
“It’s a vastly different world out there,” said Rick Schmidt, CEO of WestStar CU. “We have to look beyond our members’ past and focus on where they’re going in the future.”

Hailing from Las Vegas, where the bulk of his members are gaming employees, Schmidt’s perspective illustrates a phenomenon gaining speed across Nevada, California, and the nation. Tarnished by the Great Recession, many borrowers are still too risky to lend money to, or too young to show established credit.

That’s on paper. The reality is, several of these individuals are just as creditworthy as their peers with higher or established credit scores, for various reasons. Credit unions have an opportunity to fill this gap, a fact that many CEOs and lending executives are starting to realize.

“About 70 percent of people who apply for loans at our credit union have a credit score under 650,” Schmidt said. “Does this mean they’re not worthy of borrowing from us, or they’re bad people? We can’t completely use the past to judge their future because the past is so, so skewed.”

Research points to the same conclusion. A migration toward “holistic underwriting” by some credit unions and banks is stirring in the ranks, according to a white paper released in August by the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Lending Council. Folks who had good credit are now seemingly subpar due to financial setbacks during or after the recession—usually the loss of a job, home foreclosure, or sometimes both. They are “still willing to pay their debts,” the council’s research states. “There is room for loosening some underwriting standards while still being prudent lenders.”

A commentary published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in November 2010 reminds lenders that consumers’ credit scores aren’t “totally within the individual’s control.” The odds of someone repaying a loan aren’t completely dependent on his or her score, but rather “their translation into the level of riskiness they represent at the current time.”

Further research issued by the Applied Research Institute—a consortium of credit unions in California, Nevada, and other western states—validated this point in a September 2010 analysis, entitled New Consumer. “Standards need to be adjusted,” it states. “If not, credit unions are likely to unnecessarily over-tighten and damage the service they provide their members, and lose out on potential loan opportunities.”

This forward-looking approach of seeing consumers in a new light goes even deeper. Technological improvements to underwriting and so-called “behavior profiling” and “big data mining” are vetting the right opportunities for lending at some financial institutions, said Karan Bhalla, managing director of IQR Consulting, a firm serving both credit unions and banks.

“Behaviors tell a lot,” Bhalla said. “They tend to be very strong indicators of loan performance.”

Studying payment behaviors and decision habits isn’t new. But in this day and age, larger amounts of information and analysis on credit union members and bank customers is helping anticipate the exact moment they’ll need a loan or credit, along with their chances of default. Banks, especially the large ones, are ahead of the curve on this trend.

However, even the smallest of credit unions have enough data to start crunching numbers and charting possibilities.

“In many cases, you can still lend to someone even if they don’t have a good FICO score,” Bhalla said. “There is huge potential for credit unions of all sizes, a few of which are at the beginning stages of this. For many, it will be a leap of faith.”

Click here to read the full perspectives of WestStar CU CEO Rick Schmidt, Alta Vista CU CEO Richard Holloway, and Xceed Financial FCU Chief Lending Officer Ray Shams within the latest News and Views column on Pages 6-7 in the February/March edition of Credit Union Digest!

 
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METSGER APPOINTED NCUA BOARD CHAIR updated 05/02/16 05:17 PM
Plus, CFPB on Arbitration and TRID
President Barack Obama has appointed National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chairman Rick Metsger to be the ninth chairman of the NCUA Board of Directors, succeeding outgoing Board Chairman Debbie Matz, whose service ended April 30.

TV INVESTIGATION SPOTLIGHTS 'PACE' updated 05/02/16 02:39 PM
Protecting Consumers Becomes Crucial
A TV news station in Los Angeles has captured a clear example of consumer protection issues stemming from the “PACE” lending program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) in just one instance of how it is proving financially harmful to homeowners and credit union members across California.

'PACE' PASSES FIRST STATE COMMITTEE updated 04/26/16 08:48 AM
Congressman Sherman Gives Support
In a rare instance of federal and state legislative involvement, Assembly Bill 2693, authored by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), received two significant boosts yesterday.

INDUSTRY LEADER AND MENTOR PASSES updated 04/25/16 12:43 PM
O'Rourke 'Will be Missed'
Gene O’Rourke—who left a 40-year legacy of helping shape and place leaders in the credit union industry throughout California and the nation—died this past Friday. He was 70.

LEAGUES COMMENT ON OTR, FEE METHODS updated 04/25/16 04:12 PM
Plus, NCUA's 2 New Proposals
The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have told the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that federally insured state-chartered credit unions (FISCUs) and federally chartered credit unions (FCUs) should be treated equitably in their comment letter on the Overhead Transfer Rate (OTR) and Operating Fee Schedule Methodologies.

REG COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO CORDRAY updated 04/19/16 09:31 AM
CU Leaders Express Opinions
In Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director (CFPB) Richard Cordrary’s recent response to a congressional letter that calls on him to fully utilize the bureau’s exemption authority for community financial institutions, Cordray cites examples of how the bureau has already used this authority.

NCUA SELECTS NEW REGION V DIRECTOR updated 04/19/16 07:31 AM
Plus: Proposed Rules; Comments Needed
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has selected Cherie Freed as regional director of the agency’s Region V office in Tempe, AZ. She will replace current Regional Director Elizabeth Whitehead, who will retire in May after 28 years of service.

AUTOS MAY PEAK AT 18 MILLION IN 2017 updated 04/19/16 05:40 PM
Decisive Moment for Credit Unions
Credit unions’ speedy, record breaking growth in auto lending might peel even more rubber in 2017. But how will they handle a plateau and subsequent drop in sales when the current business cycle runs its course?

RESPECTED ECONOMIST DIES AT 63 updated 04/14/16 04:38 PM
Esmael Adibi on SchoolsFirst Board
A beloved and well-respected forecaster on the California economy over the past 38 years—as well as credit union board member of SchoolsFirst FCU—died of complications from a stroke on April 8.

ADVOCACY IN FULL SWING AFTER 'GRR' updated 04/12/16 08:51 AM
Upcoming Committee Meeting on PACE
Credit union advocates may have left Sacramento last week after the 2016 California Government Relations Rally (GRR) came to a close, but state legislative efforts on a number of issues remain in full swing as the industry continues fighting for its members.

NV CUs SPECIFIED IN SENATE HEARING updated 04/11/16 01:50 PM
More Action is Forthcoming
In the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ continual push for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to fully use its exemption authority for credit unions, Nevada credit unions were specifically discussed by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) during the first of two hearings last week regarding the CFPB’s impact.

MODERNIZATION BILL MOVES TO ASSEMBLY updated 04/05/16 09:24 AM
CA Gov. Relations Rally Kicks Off
Sacramento is front and center for credit union advocacy this week as two powerful events unfold that are integral to the cause of the industry and its members across California: the state-charter modernization bill and the 2016 California Government Relations Rally (GRR).

SACTOWN RAISES NEARLY $200K FOR CMN updated 04/05/16 09:03 AM
Benefits CA/NV Children's Hospitals
The sixth annual Credit Union SacTown Run—which took place Sunday, April 3 in downtown Sacramento, CA—raised nearly $200,000 for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in California and Nevada. The event was sponsored by CU Miracle Day, Inc. along with 69 credit unions and credit union businesses including the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

CFO: INSIGHT ON FASB's 'TRG' MEETING updated 04/05/16 08:54 AM
Current Expected Credit Loss
On April 1, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) met with its Transition Resource Group (TRG) on the proposed accounting standards update (ASU) for credit losses, which would implement a forward-looking Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) model.

EVENT WILL LAUNCH DYNAMIC DISCUSSION updated 04/04/16 04:24 PM
'Your Economy, Your Credit Union'
Credit unions can join their peers from across California and Nevada to engage with three renowned experts on June 16 during "Your Economy—Your Credit Union: 2017 and Beyond," a first event of its kind!

CUs PREPARE TO UNITE IN SACRAMENTO updated 03/29/16 09:31 AM
Register for 'GRR' Today
All credit union advocates are needed in Sacramento as momentum builds toward the 2016 California Government Relations Rally (GRR) from April 4-5, where executives, managers, and board volunteers will discuss important topics with state lawmakers to help protect credit unions and allow their members to thrive.

GROUP TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON 'CECL' updated 03/29/16 08:11 AM
Two CUs Part of Discussion
Two credit union CFOs will be a part of a key meeting this week leading up to the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) expected mid-2016 decision on its proposed accounting standards update (ASU) on credit-losses standard.

FOUNDATION RECEIVES DIAMOND AWARDS updated 03/25/16 10:49 AM
Efforts Leveraging Video & Financial
The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) was honored with two Diamond Awards—awards that recognize outstanding marketing and business development achievements in the credit union industry.

CONSUMER PROTECTION ADDED TO BILL updated 03/21/16 10:46 AM
'PACE' Momentum Heats Up
A significant amendment was made last week to Assembly Bill 2693 to address the huge consumer protection issues surrounding Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that credit unions in California and their members have begun to encounter.

WINE AUCTION RAISES 1M FOR CMN KIDS updated 03/21/16 09:07 AM
$4.8 Million Since 2006
For the second year in a row, the annual Credit Unions for Kids Wine Auction raised more than $1 million for the 11 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in California and Nevada.

CUNA: BYLAW MODERNIZATION APPOVED updated 03/21/16 01:59 PM
Membership Votes for Open Model
More than 90 percent of participating Credit Union National Association (CUNA) members (representing more than 43 percent of total membership) has voted to modernize the association’s bylaws, which will create a new, open membership model for CUNA and empowers the board of directors to maintain a fair dues formula and board structure.

NCUA'S WHITEHEAD MEETS WITH LEADERS updated 03/18/16 04:03 PM
Region V Responds to Concerns
Last week representatives from the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues met with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Region V Director Liz Whitehead and Associate Regional Directors Mike Dyer and Cherie Freed.

329 CONGRESSMEN TO CFPB: EXEMPT CUs updated 03/14/16 01:22 PM
Letter Co-Authored by Rep. Schiff
A letter co-written by California Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Los Angeles, and Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, asking for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to fully exercise its rule-making exemption authority for community based financial institution recently was submitted to CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

PLEASE SEND LETTER TO FASB ON 'CECL' updated 03/11/16 10:40 AM
CUs Urged to Act
Credit union leaders are urged to assist in the grassroots efforts initiated by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ to oppose the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed accounting standards update (ASU) on credit losses.