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CU sees change in members defaulting on auto loans
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (3/20/09)--Norbel CU, Fort Collins, Colo., has noticed a change in the kinds of members that have come into the credit union to give up their car keys. “Good members are having problems,” Ed Bigby, Norbel CEU CEO, told News Now. “My biggest fear is when a good member loses his job and the ability to pay.” Norbel has had five vehicle repossessions this year. However, its delinquency rates remain low, because the credit union has lended very conservatively, Bigby said. To help out “good” members who have endured financial hardships, such as a job loss, Norbel is offering a temporary forgiveness program. The program is offered on a case-by-case basis to members who have defaulted on loan payments. Under the program, Norbel will accept a loan payment from a member--anything he or she can afford--and put “everything back to principle,” Bigby said. “We forgive the interest.” About 12 members are using the program, which is offered “judiciously” because the credit union doesn’t want half of its loan portfolio on it. But although the credit union gives up some revenue by forgiving interest on loan payments, it’s creating member loyalty and gaining public relations, he said. A field examiner from Colorado recently asked Norbel to send a copy of the program to him. This could indicate that there are other credit unions in the area that could use a similar tactic, added. Norbel has 6,500 members and $115 million in assets.


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