Spokane-based Numerica Credit Union plans to complete land purchases in Airway Heights and Hayden, Idaho, within the next month for two more new branch locations and also has just completed a merger with a small credit union in Chelan County.
The developments are part of a pattern of growth at Numerica, which nearly has doubled its size over the past five years and shows little sign of slowing down.
Numerica, the second largest credit union in Spokane County, had $578 million in assets at the end of last year, up from $310 million in 2001, but expects to be at $655 million in assets by the end of this year, says President and CEO Dennis Cutter.
It expects to begin building the new branches in Airway Heights and Hayden next spring, which would boost those figures further, Cutter says. Yet, for now the credit unions plans for growth remain focused on the Spokane-North Idaho area.
We havent even talked about creating any new branches on the West Side of the state, Cutter says. We have a good market here.
Through mergers, Numerica has added five branches in the past three years, has built new branches at the Wandermere Shopping Mall, in North Spokane, and in Kennewick, Wash., since January, and now has a total of 14 branches.
P align=center>Merger closes
Its merger last week with the 500-member Chelan County PUD Credit Union, which had about $3 million in assets, wont result in a net gain of branches, says Kelli Hawkins, the credit unions marketing specialist.
Chelan County PUD Credit Union had one office in Wenatchee. That office will close at the end of February, when the smaller credit unions data systems will be integrated with Numericas. At that time, former Chelan County PUD members will be able to use any of Numericas three branches in Wenatchee to do their banking.
Mergers are appealing to smaller credit unions because larger institutions can offer more services to their members, and its difficult for small credit unions to deal with increasingly complex federal and state regulations placed on them, Cutter says.
Regulations have gotten really cumbersome, he says. For example, federal legislation requires financial institutions to keep detailed information and share it with government agencies to deter money laundering. He says a lack of rigid compliance with those rules can result in hefty penalties.
Numericas 2006 projected growth in deposits, loans, and membership far exceed national projections for the industry made at the start of the year by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), of Madison, Wis.
For credit unions nationally, CUNA estimated 3.8 percent growth in deposits, 8 percent growth in loans, and 1.8 percent growth in membership. Numerica, however, this year expects growth of 8 percent in deposits, 14 percent in loans, and 6 percent in membership, Cutter says.
By the end of 2006, Numerica expects to have $555 million in deposits, $480 million in loans, and 71,000 members, says Cutter. Five years ago, Numerica had deposits of $278 million, loans of $243 million, and about 42,000 members. Cutter says the nonprofit currently has about 250 employees, up from about 140 in 2001.
Cutter attributes the credit unions rapid growth in that period to the added resources obtained as it grew bigger and that practically anyone from Washington and North Idaho now can be a member. He adds, as well, that the change of the credit unions name from Spokane Railway Credit Union to Numerica Credit Union, in 2000, enhanced business.
About the name change, Cutter says, It was difficult to convince people they didnt have to work for the railroad to join us.
Vice President Jennifer Lehn says the name change increased business more in the Coeur dAlene area than in Spokane, primarily because it removed Spokanes name from the credit unions name.
Numerica owns the buildings in which 10 of its 14 branches are housed. It has three branches in Wenatchee, Wash., all added three years ago through a merger with North Central Credit Union, and two branches in Coeur dAlene, including one added two years ago through a merger with the Coeur dAlene Teachers Credit Union. Numerica also has five branches in Spokane, two branches in Spokane Valley, and new branches at the Wandermere Shoping Center and in Kennewick.
Although Numerica expects its deposits this year to grow by 8 percent, that deposit growth has been a struggle this year, Cutter says.
People are supplementing incomes with their credit cards, he says. They are spending everything they earn, and then some.
Cutter joined the credit union 35 years ago, when the state-chartered institution had $2.1 million in assets, 3,000 members, one office, and eight employees. He says that in addition to the name change, the other step that had the biggest impact on growth came in 1982, when Numerica broadened its membership beyond the ranks of railroad workers to include other people in the transportation industry.
Contact Rocky Wilson at (509) 344-1264 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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