To Add Members, Think ‘Bold’ and ‘Local’

Learn the secrets of five CUs that have experienced dramatic membership growth.

August 20, 2014
KEYWORDS growth , membership
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Jerry Bolduc, Monroe County Teachers FCU


Monroe County Teachers Federal Credit Union was reeling from a scandal involving a former manager when Jerry Bolduc came out of retirement from a career as an NCUA supervisor to take over the credit union in Key West, Fla., in 2007.

“NCUA called me and asked if I wanted to come in for a couple weeks to "clean up the mess," Bolduc says. “But when I met with the board, instead of being embarrassed, they were mad and wanted to continue. It was a challenge, but we put everything into it.”

Jerry Bolduc, Monroe County Teachers FCUAfter first focusing on instituting better internal controls and recovering its losses, the credit union—which was down to $5.5 million assets and fighting for its survival—focused on expanding its field of membership to multiple select employee groups (SEGs), concentrating on nonprofits such as the Rotary Club and Navy League Key West Council.

To keep loan-to-share ratio high, Monroe County Teachers Federal offered the best share draft interest rates in the market to attract deposits. The credit union experienced significant growth from retiring teachers starting IRAs with money from their pension plans.

Sensing a void in the auto loans market, Bolduc forged agreements with three local dealers on a “Buy Local, Finance Local” campaign. And he championed entry into the bottomed-out real estate market with a focus on conservative loans.

Five years ago, Monroe County Teachers Federal started an association called Stand Up for Education that grew so quickly it incorporated as a 501(c)(3)  in 2011. The association awards “Sponsor A Classroom” to teachers and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to kids at $250 each. The credit union gave a total of $6,000 in Coverdell accounts in 2013, a sum that grows each year.

“We have no competitors for that offer in the Keys, and very few credit unions offer them nationally,” Bolduc says. “It’s a great incentives to attract kids and parents.”

The 1,800-member credit union quadrupled its assets to $22 million since Bolduc’s arrival, and added more than 400 members in the last year.

“You can’t make money on investments,” Bolduc says. “We invest in loans to our members. The rest of it, keep it as liquid as we can. If you can balance it right, have good relationships with members, it works well.”

Monroe County Teachers Federal ranks among the top credit unions nationally in loan-to-share (83%) and loan-to-assets (74%) ratios, cost-to-funds (1.67), and return on assets (1.25%).

“The thing I’m proudest of is that we pay more and earn more,” Bolduc says. “If you can do that, you’re going to be successful.”

In 2012, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions selected Monroe County Teachers Federal as Credit Union of the Year in its asset size category.

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