SACRAMENTO, Calif.-The $7.8-billion The Golden 1 Credit Union said its midyear numbers show ROA has grown to 1.1% and capital now stands at 10.56%.

Overall, assets are up more than 10% year to date, according to CEO Donna Bland, while delinquencies and charge-offs have declined.

"The biggest challenge is margin, but that is a benefit to members, and we are able to do that by managing our expenses and our asset quality, said Bland.

Bland said The Golden 1 is seeing particularly strong growth in auto loans and credit cards, partially as the result of two marketing messages it has been promoting: membership is open to all in the community and loans are available. "I would say our lending is strong for this economy," she assessed. "Our market share is growing and we continue to find new methods to increase our market share. We promote our great rates on auto loans, and low rates and cash back on Visa cards."


Indirect A Driver

Much of the new auto loan volume is coming through indirect. Bland said The Golden 1 benefits from "strong name recognition and a history of being a good auto lender."

"We don't go in and out of markets," she said. "We are always offering auto loans and we are constantly out there in the marketplace."

With indirect, members Golden 1 makes every effort to cross-sell, including sending letters letting these members know about its free checking and other products, Bland continued.

Bland said she does not agree with the view held by some that indirect members never fully engage as CU members. "In this economy I would like a member with a loan," she said. "It is not 'just a loan' to us, we want members with loans. We are not going to turn them away if they don't take out a deposit product. That is why we are here, to lend money. We do try to cross-sell them other products, but I am happy to sell them a loan because they are a contributing member with a loan. When they are ready get a new loan we send reminders to encourage them to get their next loan with us.

Meanwhile, The Golden 1 is working with a new origination system designed to increase cross-selling by making product recommendations when new members sign up online.


Membership Growth

As is the case at other large CUs, Golden 1 has seen strong membership growth in 2012. For each month so far this year (through June) it has seen double-digit growth in new members over the same month in 2011, topped by 68.9% in February (5,968 new members in February 2012 versus 3,532 new members in February 2011).

Through the first six months of this year, Golden 1 has brought in 35,930 new members, compared to 24,354 in the same period in 2011, a 47.5% increase.

"We are doing quite a number of things to assure continued growth in all of our markets," said Bland. "It starts with constant marketing and advertising, which emphasizes the fact people can join. Wherever we market we have a community charter. We want to break that barrier of perceived exclusivity. Next is following through with exceptional service. We have the convenience people are looking for and great service to back it up," she declared. "We are trying to take advantage of consumer dissatisfaction with banks and communicate that credit unions such as Golden 1 are a better choice. And we let people know we are not a small shop. We have person-to-person payments and other technology consumers are looking for."

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