Altura Credit Union on Wednesday reported net income of $4.69 million for the first quarter of 2018, up 28.9 percent over the same period last year, when its net income was $3.63 million.

The Riverside, Calif.-based CU said its total assets as of March 31 were $1.358 billion, a 6.25 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

Altura reported its net worth ratio climbed to 10.65 percent (“well capitalized”) as of the end of Q1 2018, up from 10.43 percent at the same time the year before.

The CU cited “robust” loan growth, improved non-interest income and a one-time reimbursement from the National Credit Union Administration for funds Altura contributed the NCUA’s self-funded insurance program to protect member deposits during the recession as reasons for its success.

In February, Altura reported net income of $10.3 million for calendar year 2017, which it said was a 30.1 percent increase over 2016 and its highest annual income since 2014.

“From a financial perspective, our numbers for the first quarter are very strong,” Jennifer Binkley, president and CEO of Altura Credit Union, said in a statement. “In addition to our financial results, Altura continued to focus on improving the member experience by listening to our members and employees.”

Jennifer Binkley took over as president and CEO of Altura CU on Feb. 20, 2017.
Jennifer Binkley took over as president and CEO of Altura CU on Feb. 20, 2017.

Binkley reported membership growth was “solid” in the first quarter, with a year-over-year increase of 4.2 percent.

“Robust loan growth contributed to our net income for the quarter,” said Tommie Shryock, Altura’s chief financial officer.

Shryock said total loans reached nearly $913 million outstanding with year-over-year growth of 12.8 percent across all secured loan types. Loan production in the first quarter totaled $91.1 million in new loans. New vehicle loans are up 16.68 percent compared to first quarter 2017, and used vehicle loans are up 8.89 percent.

“We also continue to do well with non-interest income, which is up 6.70 percent,” Shryock said, noting the figure includes income from fees paid by merchants for debit card purchases. “Interchange income growth reflects the ongoing popularity of making purchases with debit rather than credit cards,” he added.

Enhanced system automation

“As part of our focus on the member experience, in the first quarter we enhanced our system automation to allow increased funds availability on our members’ check deposits. This improvement was deployed throughout all our deposit channels, including mobile, ATM and branches,” Binkley said.

As reported exclusively by Credit Union Journal, Altura rolled out four updates to its mobile banking app during the first quarter.

“As part of ensuring that our digital channels remain dynamic, we are using member feedback to continuously improve security and accessibility. We want our digital channels to provide an engaging experience for our members,” said Sevan Yakinian, vice president, member services. “We have seen our user base grow 15 percent since the launch of our new mobile app in October. Total log-ins also have grown, with the average Altura member logging in 25 times per month, up from 18 in the past.”

Yakinian said the app is getting high marks in the Apple and Android Market, with 4.8 and 4.6 out of five stars, respectively.

“Our solid financial performance provides a framework for Altura to create and deliver the products and services our members can use every day to better manage their financial lives,” Binkley said.

Digging Out

Altura CU, along with every other financial institution in the Inland Empire, east of Los Angeles, suffered terrible losses during the recession due to widespread unemployment and plummeting home values. At the end of 2007 it had more than $1 billion in assets, but then lost $13.7 million in 2008, $20.1 million in 2009 and $5.8 million in 2010.

The turnaround began in 2011, when it reported net income of $8.4 million after $1.5 million in assessments. In 2012 Altura had net income of $17.4 million after paying $589,000 in assessments.

Altura said it had net income of $11.18 million in 2013 — making 2011-2013 the best three-year period in the credit union's history.

It had $11.6 million in net income for full year 2014, then net income of $5.95 million for 2015, followed by net income of $7.86 million in 2016, and $10.3 million in 2017.

Altura Credit Union serves more than 123,000 members via 13 branches in Riverside County.

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