CELINA, Ohio-When many financial institutions surrounding the small Dynamic FCU here began tightening its underwriting a few years ago, the $23-million CU decided to keep loan policies the same and let the community know it had money to lend.

That, said CEO Diane Rodriguez, played a key role in Dynamic FCU thriving during the recession, ending 2011 with 2.47% ROA and 14.9% capital. Loan growth was 12.2% in 2011 and 17% in 2010. "Our ROA is the highest among our peer group in Ohio. When everyone cut back we decided to go full-bore ahead. It was a great opportunity for us to pick up more loans."

Part of its decision-making has also been to diversity its loan portfolio, so if auto lending suffered, for instance, DFCU focused more on home equity and first mortgages. "Not all small credit unions offer the services we do," said Rodriguez, "Last year we closed about 85 mortgages. For a credit union of our size, that is out of the norm. We keep a maximum of 25% of our loan portfolio in real estate."

Collections became a focus, as well. Rodriguez said her collections officer now builds strong relationship with members, relies on early phone calls instead of letters, and often gets calls from members before she picks up the phone. "Our delinquencies are at 60 basis points while our peer average is 1.64%"

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