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Excellence in Lending Awards Presented at CUNA Lending Council Conference
Thursday, November 3, 2016 6:35 AM

Lending Award Winners
Pictured here are the award sponsors and winning credit union representatives (from left-to-right): Andrea Stritzke, product management director, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.; Bob Stowell, chair, CUNA Lending Council, and SVP/chief strategy officer, Firefly Credit Union, Burnsville, Minn.; Rick Skaggs, president/CEO, USF Federal Credit Union, Tampa, Fla., Consumer Lending, Assets more than $250 million; Josh Beck, EVP/CFO, Lower Valley Credit Union, Sunnyside, Wash., Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets less than $250 million; Clarence Baltrusaitis, CEO, NET Credit Union, Olyphant, Pa., Consumer Lending, Assets less than $250 million; David Weed, AVP business services, and Fawn Terwilliger, VP lending, Service Credit Union, Portsmouth, N.H., Business Lending, Assets more than $250 million; and Eric Darmanin, CLO, United Nations Federal Credit Union, Long Island City, N.Y., Mortgage Lending, Assets more than $250 million.

Industry’s Top Consumer, Business, Mortgage, and Low-to-Modest Means Lenders Honored

Five credit unions were recognized for their lending prowess Monday, by receiving an Excellence in Lending Award during CUNA Lending Council’s 22nd annual conference in Las Vegas. CUNA Mutual Group’s Andrea Stritzke, product management director, presented awards to:

Business Lending, Assets more than $250 million – Service Credit Union, Portsmouth, N.H. ($2.98 billion in assets) – Service Credit Union developed a comprehensive strategy centered on commercial construction lending and floor plan financing to widen banking relationships with business members. The credit union created a CUSO initiative to allow for lending opportunities beyond its initial business lending footprint of New Hampshire to other New England markets. In 2015, Service Credit Union issued $15.8 million in loans through this expanded lending program.

Consumer Lending, Assets less than $250 million – NET Credit Union, Olyphant, Pa. ($185 million in assets) – NET Credit Union simplified its previously complex loan policy to focus on FICO score and debt-to-income ratio with the goal of facilitating more lending across all credit tiers. In addition, the credit union launched new auto lending products and promotions, including a 125 percent LTV loan option and a first-time car buyer program. These programs increased the credit union’s loan portfolio from $49.8 million in 2014 to $64.1 million by mid-year 2016.

Consumer Lending, Assets more than $250 million – USF Federal Credit Union, Tampa, Fla. ($535 million in assets) – USF Federal Credit Union refocused its strategic plan to center on loan growth. Key elements included expanded indirect auto lending operations, credit card and balance transfer incentive programs and the installation of an auto loan recapture program focused on both current and target members. This organization-wide effort boosted consumer loan volume by $2 million per month.

Low-to-Modest Means Lending, Assets less than $250 million – Lower Valley Credit Union, Sunnyside, Wash. ($110 million in assets) – Lower Valley Credit Union partnered with community groups to develop path-to-citizenship loans to help immigrant members cover expenses associated with the naturalization process. As part of this effort, the credit union accepted alternatives to Social Security numbers from working nonresidents for auto and home loans and offered financial education classes and materials in both English and Spanish. The credit union’s assets have grown by more than $50 million during the last three years with loan-to-share ratio increasing from 79.20 percent to 93.51 percent.

Mortgage Lending, Assets more than $250 million – United Nations Federal Credit Union, Long Island City, N.Y. ($4.58 billion in assets) – United Nations Federal Credit Union’s mortgage portfolio grew by 20 percent in 2015 due to its focused efforts in expanding markets. The credit union opened a new branch in Washington, D.C., along with a services center in Virginia – both with a focus on servicing mortgages – and introduced a special program for qualified United Nations employees and retirees wanting to finance a home in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more detail, read the 2016 winner profiles.

CUNA Mutual Group, with support and expertise from the CUNA Lending Council, established the Excellence in Lending Awards in 2000 to recognize credit unions that have implemented outstanding lending programs while demonstrating sound financial performance. The awards provide an opportunity for credit unions to share best practices and ideas, network and celebrate lending excellence. Today the awards are co-sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group and CUNA Lending Council.

The Excellence in Lending Awards are presented annually to credit unions for exemplary lending practices and results in business lending, consumer lending (including home equity), mortgage lending, and low/modest means lending. Applications are evaluated on: strategy (40 points), programs (30 points) and performance (30 points). All affiliated credit unions in the U.S. are eligible to win.

About the CUNA Lending Council:
The CUNA Lending Council is a member-led community of credit union lending professionals dedicated to providing the highest level of networking, professional development and advocacy to its members. The CUNA Lending Council is one of seven CUNA Councils, a network of nearly 7,000 credit union professionals. For more information, visit

About CUNA Mutual Group:
CUNA Mutual Group helps people plan, protect and invest for their future – regardless of their financial standing. The company was founded more than 80 years ago by credit union leaders who were looking for an insurance partner they could trust. Today, CUNA Mutual Group helps credit unions and hardworking Americans build financial security through commercial and personal insurance products; lending and payment security solutions; and risk management, retirement, investment and marketing services. Additional information about the company can be found at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company and MEMBERS Life Insurance Company. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.