Brethren Credit Union is ‘Fundamentally Sound’ and Growing

(June 14, 2007) — In order to grow the Church of the Brethren Credit Union and offer competitive rates to its members, the credit union’s board has developed a three-phase strategic plan. Over the past 18 months, the credit union has been focusing on the first phase of the plan, developing internal controls, writing new policies for new products, and updating core software systems and infrastructure to be able to manage the growth it anticipates.

The second phase is to develop a full range of financial products and services. The third phase will be to market these products and services to an expanding membership.

Before moving into the next step of product development, the credit union wanted to engage in an external evaluation, intended to complement its regularly performed audits and reviews, to fully assess its internal operations. It contracted with the Illinois Credit Union League’s compliance attorney to perform a share deposit compliance review and a lending compliance review. Both reviews were positive and were helpful in identifying additional ways to strengthen the credit union’s operations.

Also, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations performed its regular exam, required for financial institutions chartered in Illinois, and gave a ranking of two out of five, with one being the highest. It defined the Church of the Brethren Credit Union as “fundamentally sound with minor weaknesses correctable in the normal course of business.” The department reported that it was very pleased with the progress the credit union has made since its last exam.

In addition, the credit union had a financial statement audit performed by the external audit firm of Legacy Professionals LLP during the first quarter of 2007. Legacy gave the credit union a “clean” opinion. Legacy also reviewed the credit union’s internal controls and did not recommend any changes.

Given these positive evaluations, the Church of the Brethren Credit Union is now actively working to develop new products and services. Even though it is only in phase two of its plan, growth is already happening: members’ deposits and credit union assets are at all time highs.

–Dennis Kingery is director of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union. This article is reprinted from the second quarter 2007 issue of the Brethren Benefit Trust newsletter, “BBT Benefit News.”

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. Submit news to the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.