During this past recession, we learned much about our credit union and what we need to do now and in the future. The main point I think we learned was that real estate lending is not a sure bet. Members are even willing to walk away from their homes, which was not always the case as previously mortgage lending was a sure way to put solid loans on the books.

Another lesson learned was that our loan portfolio must be balanced with risk management in mind. We need to always be taking a look at the member's job stability, credit, and history of repaying. We also needed to act quicker to manage rising expenses and get rid of unprofitable products before they drag the numbers down. Innovation, development of more efficient products, and doing more with less need to be key themes in managing through the tough times.

On the human resources side, the retention of quality employees who are passionate about the credit union mission and our membership are the essential to continued survival. Employees who are not passionate about the credit union and the members we serve have to be able to step up or they will not be a part of our organization.

Lastly, we needed to take a hard look at our core mission and make sure we did not stray too far from our main objectives. By sticking to our core mission, we were and are able to better serve our membership and provide a foundation for the financial success of our members.

Patricia Kimmel
Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va.

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