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CU System
United FCU works to revive Clearstars auto lending
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (10/2/09)--United FCU--the St. Joseph, Mich.-based credit union that acquired the ailing Reno, Nev.-based Clearstar Financial CU last week--is working to revise Clearstar's auto loan program with new standards. Duane Nelson, United chief operating officer, told a local newspaper that auto loans, not risky mortgage loans, were the main factor in Clearstar's failure (The Herald-Palladium Sept. 30). Clearstar's policies on what it would loan on collateral were liberal and its rates were probably too low considering the risk involved, he said. The deal, which was coordinated with support from the National Credit Union Administration, will help United get a foothold into one of the nation's fastest-growing areas, Nelson told the publication. The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area grew 21% from 2000 to 2008. Once the economy turns around, the Reno area will grow again, Nelson said. He added the merger gives United some diversity in its member base. With the merger, United will have more than $1 billion in assets and serve more than 111,000 members in Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas, North Carolina and Nevada. Of those totals, $141 million in assets and 16,000 members are from Clearstar.


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