Pre-recession it was relatively easy to bring in new members. We became accustomed to that, but with the recession member viewpoints changed. We had to be much more business savvy, and we had to be more astute in operating efficiency.

In retrospect, it has been beneficial because we are better business people today. We are more efficient and more able to adapt to changing member preferences. Previously members were heavier borrowers and lighter on savings. We know we have to define what members want and deliver that.

We are looking for ways to not to turn down a loan, but to make a loan. We are evaluating our underwriting criteria. We are designing and pricing loan products to address consumers' needs. They were the ones hit hardest by the recession, perhaps lost their job for a while, but if they have income we will try to work with them.

On the operations side we cut expenses by purchasing our facility-changing us from lessee to owner. We are landlords, which creates rental income, and the costs are less.

James Harris
President and CEO
USE Credit Union, San Diego

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