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Two CUs announce branch closures
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (4/12/11)--Altura CU in Riverside, Calif., and Security Service FCU, based in San Antonio, Texas, announced last Friday they each will close a branch. Altura said it is closing its branch inside the Moreno Valley WalMart Super Center on May 18, converting three other branch locations to all-electronic branches beginning May 10, and eliminating 26 jobs concurrent with the branch changes. The 26 branch positions being eliminated represent 11% of Altura’s work force. “Although the U.S. government reported the recession officially ended in June of 2009, and the nation’s economy is steadily improving, the Inland Empire’s recovery is moving at a slower pace,” said Altura CEO Mark Hawkins. “The Riverside/Inland Empire area appears to be stabilizing, but not yet staging a comeback. Unemployment remains high at 14.1%, which impacts our members’ lives and their ability to repay loans. As a result, Altura’s loan losses peaked in 2010.” Altura restated its 2010 financial results after its auditors recommended boosting reserves for potential loan and lease losses by $3 million. Altura’s restated financials show a loss of $5.8 million for the year on assets of $726.8 million. Originally, Altura reported a loss of $2.9 million for 2010. The restated results are a marked improvement compared to 2009’s net loss of $20.1 million. Altura’s capital ratio for 2010 was also adjusted to 5.81% from the earlier reported 6.18%. The National Credit Union Administration considers 6% to be adequately capitalized. “Although we believe the local economy has begun to stabilize, we felt it prudent to set aside more funds in reserve for potential losses,” said Hawkins. “We also have tightened our loan underwriting standards to limit risk. Unfortunately, that has reduced the number of new loans and the resulting income.” “As a result, we continue to examine ways to further reduce our day-to-day operating expenses," he added. "That is why we made the difficult decision to close our only in-store branch and transition three others to all-electronic locations. The goal is to return Altura to profitability while minimizing disruptions in service to our members." After May 17, Altura will have 12 branch locations in Riverside County, four of which will be all-electronic. Altura also offers online, mobile and telephone banking for its members’ convenience. Also, Security Service FCU will permanently close the Lindon, Utah, Wal-Mart Service Center, formerly a First FCU location, effective May 1. The credit union said it decided to close the branch because of its close proximity to the Security Service branch in Pleasant Grove. The Pleasant Grove branch will offer added services for members, such as four drive-thru lanes, a drive-up ATM, and full teller and member-service operations. The branch closure will not result in any layoffs, the credit union said. Lindon Branch employees are being offered jobs at other area Security Service locations with no change in compensation. Security Service said it is not contemplating any other branch closures in Utah. The $6.2 billion-asset Security Service FCU is based in San Antonio, Texas, and has members in Texas, Utah and Colorado.


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