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Kelly Community FCU CEO Talks Challenges and Opportunities Facing Movement
Thursday, July 10, 2014 7:00 AM

Kelly Community FCU was chartered in February 1963, by a small group of employees at the Kelly-Springfield Tire Plant. In 2001, the board of directors decided to expand the credit union’s charter into the community, and in 2006, the name was changed to Kelly Community FCU. With about $90 million in assets, the Tyler, Texas-based credit union is one of the most financially sound credit unions in the country.

In the following Q&A, Kelly Community FCU CEO Scott Rose talks about the growth opportunities, as well as the challenges facing his credit union, and the movement.

Question: How is business?

Rose: Business is great. We are in the throes of another best year ever…fourth consecutive. We are forecasting to have the best net profit in the 51 year history of Kelly Community FCU. We have just eclipsed $90 million in assets for the first time. Loans are up 11.42 percent for the year. Membership has grown past 10,000 members or plus 4 percent and we are only half way through the year.

Question: What types of loans are experiencing greatest growth?

Rose: We are big mortgage lenders, but we are seeing a new surge in consumer loans of all types…especially used autos.

Question: What are the three greatest growth opportunities for your credit union?

Rose: Consumer lending, real estate lending and business accounts.

Question: What are the top three challenges facing your credit union?

Rose: Regulations and more regulations; the cost of the audits we have to engage to prove compliance, and economies of scale being a $90 million credit union routinely competing with billion dollar banks.

Question: Looking at the credit union movement as a whole, what do you see as the three major challenges?

Rose: Regulations; low interest rates, and aging boards and/or volunteers.   

Question: What impact has technology has had on the movement?

Rose: My sense is that technology has had a leveling affect for credit unions. Technology allows for smaller credit unions to remain competitive. Competitive credit unions manage technology and use it to expand their foot print without brick and mortar.   

Question: What role do you see technology playing in connecting with your members?

Rose: It can be a connector to the younger generations. Technology can make credit unions more accessible and convenient - maybe even “cool.”

Question: With increasing usage of technology, what impact do you see this having on branches? Do you anticipate fewer branches?

Rose: In Tyler, Texas there is a bank on every corner…seriously. I have said it for years that there will be empty bank buildings all over our area within the next five years. We are seeing some banks close branches leaving them unoccupied. Yes I do feel that fewer branches are realistic for smaller institutions. However, as long as larger institution’s balance sheets will allow, I am certain they will keep building, just smaller.

Question: How optimistic are you about the future for your credit union, as well as for the movement?

Rose: I remain very much bullish on Kelly Community FCU and the credit union movement as a whole. Our business model is sound and when managed effectively, credit unions are prototypical on how financial services can be delivered all over the world.  

Question: And finally, what motivates you to continue serving in the movement?

Rose: The idea of people helping people still motivates me. I am in my 28th year in the industry, 22 years as a CEO since age 29. My mission is to continue to work hard to make our industry even more viable and then eventually hand it off to a younger generation in about…20 more years!