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CUNA Lending Council, CUNA Mutual Present Excellence In Lending Awards
PHOENIX, Ariz. (11/5/13)--Six credit unions were honored by the CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group on Monday for Excellence in Lending.

The awards--for consumer lending, mortgage lending, business lending, and low-to-modest means lending--were presented at the CUNA Lending Council's 19th annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz., at a ceremony emceed by Dan Murray, a CUNA Mutual vice president.

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CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group presented their 2013 Excellence in Lending Awards to, from left: front row: Steven Owens, Consumers CU, Consumer winner, $250 million assets and above; Shamus McConomy, GTE Financial, Business winner; Richard Whitman, Texas Trust CU, Mortgage winner, $250 million and above; Crystal Tayes, Upper Cumberland FCU, Mortgage winner, $250 million and below;  Jennifer Watson, Limestone FCU, Mortgage, $250 million and below; Tony Hale, Texell CU, Consumer, $250 million and below; Galen Burke, Texell CU, Low/Modest Means winner; back row: Bill Vogeney, Lending Council chair; and Tom Keepers and Dan Murray, CUNA Mutual Group. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
The consumer lending awards were given to Consumers CU of Kalamazoo, Mich., for credit unions with assets greater than $250 million, and Texell CU of Temple, Texas, for credit unions with assets less than $250 million. Consumers CU was recognized for a "Silver Lining" home equity debt consolidation product for borrowers nearing retirement. Texell CU was honored for developing new products, underwriting procedures and decentralizing its business model by devolving decision-making to the branch level after reassessing its consumer lending program in 2008.

Mortgage lending honors were bestowed upon Texas Trust FCU of Mansfield Texas, for credit unions with assets greater than $250 million, and Limestone FCU of Manistique, Mich., and Upper Cumberland FCU of Crossville, Tenn., for assets with less than $250 million.

Texas Trust won for turning around a troubled mortgage portfolio over the past seven years through a publicity campaign that increased member penetration for mortgage lending from 2% to 15%. Limestone FCU was recognized for introducing a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage after assessing itself through member polling and internal ratings. Upper Cumberland won its award for offering a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage to qualified buyers, allowing members to consolidate debt. The incentives management offers hourly employees to help maintain loan-to-share ratio and delinquency rate targets also were recognized by CUNA Lending Council and CUNA Mutual Group.
 
GTE Financial, in Tampa, Fla., received the business lending award for diversifying its loan portfolio and revamping operations in October 2010, after it was threatened by the wave of foreclosures that hit Florida. The credit union decided to nurture its relationships in the community and expanded its small-business clientele, creating a more sustainable asset portfolio in the process.
 
Texell also won the low-to-modest means award for tailoring its lending strategy to its low-income membership base--a move that has seen the credit union's loan performance improve through an invigorated financial literacy campaign and income-specific products like affordable payday loans and holiday loans.
 
The CUNA Lending Council is made up of almost 1,200 credit union lending professionals that work toward highlighting the best credit union industry practices. CUNA Mutual Group offers wholesale insurance to credit unions.
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