As a CDFI serving the City of Milwaukee, we saw the recession coming in June of 2007, when our delinquency doubled from June to August. Our collectors advised management that our members were losing their jobs and there were no new jobs available.

In September 2007, we changed our loan matrix, requiring higher down payments including a maximum total loan amount to each credit category and hired a second full time collector.

As the Great Recession deepened, new federal regulations began to cut into our fee income and the corporate assessments took even more from our bottom line, we found it necessary to lay off 30% of our staff and close our mortgage branch office. We were also planning a complete remodel of our main office and a possible branch expansion, which were put on hold as we were no longer certain if that was the best path to follow.

These moves have been instrumental in our ability to fund our new technology initiative with our data processor CU*Answers, including an updated website, instant card issue, mobile and text banking and going paperless with Edoc's. If anything good has come out of the last few years, it has been the push to expand our technology footprint, giving us the ability to compete and offer the services of the future.

Jim Schrimpf
CEO
Brewery Credit Union, Milwaukee, Wis.

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