TUSCALOOSA, Ala.-Credit unions that stayed the course with underwriting-never moving to any extremes before, during and after the recession-are benefitting today, asserts Tommy Cobb.

The CEO of Tuscaloosa CU here said that never going to high LTVs and dropping credit standards when the economy was booming benefitted the portfolio during the downturn, just as has not tightening lending guidelines when the economy tanked. That is TCU's philosophy, said Cobb, who explained the credit union has enjoyed lower-than-average delinquencies during the recession and some pretty solid lending years after 2008.

"We had 26% loan growth in 2009, 4.33% in 2010, and 6.49% in 2011," said Cobb. "There is a benefit to sticking to your disciplines and not going out too far one way or another."

During the downturn the $54-million credit union held the course on its lending guidelines and Cobb acknowledged TCU was making loans "even though we were nervous about them. But I think by taking this steady approach to lending you tend to attract the right kinds of borrowers no matter the state of the economy. You attract a certain type of person in your 'integrity range,' meaning the kind of people who do business the way you present it. They will be there when the times are tough and when the times are good."

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