2016-05-13 / Business

Workers Credit Union continues to see strong growth

Submitted to The Champion

2015 was a good year for members of Workers Credit Union, who enjoyed a $3 million payout thanks to the community credit union’s continued growth and financial strength.

“It is our 86,000 credit union members who are responsible for an outstanding 2015,” said Doug Petersen, president and CEO of Workers Credit Union, during its annual meeting Tuesday, March 22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Leominster.

Workers assets grew 14.1 percent, to $1.31 billion, because of strong demand for real estate, consumer and commercial loans. According to Petersen, net loans grew 13.8 percent to $935.7 million, which included 12,319 new loans or $364.8 million for the year.

“It is our solid growth that allowed us to increase our payout to members by 20 percent, to over $3 million. This marks the third year in a row that Workers members have received a payout for doing business with us,” said Petersen.

Real estate loans were particularly strong, according to Petersen. Workers was the number one lender in the communities it serves for total real estate dollars loaned and total real estate loans closed.

“One of the primary reasons our numbers are so strong is our culture of going above and beyond for our members,” Petersen said. “Our mortgage originators will meet anywhere or anytime and more importantly work closely with members so they can realize their dream of homeownership.”

Consumer lending, which includes automotive, recreational vehicles, boats, home improvement and personal loans, did $145.6 million in closed loans, which was a 14.7 percent increase over the previous year. The growth was attributed to competitive lending rates and additional partnerships formed with local car and RV dealerships. It was noted that credit union members can afford a better vehicle because of the lower rates offered.

The credit union also made $44.7 million in commercial real estate term loans and lines of credit. Petersen recognized the credit union’s business lending representatives, who have more than 100 years of experience collectively.

“Our team will go out of their way to work with a small business, whether it is sharing insights into best practices or finding alternative lending products,” Petersen said.

The credit union was the number three SBA lender for its service territory.

Because of its significant loan volumes, the credit union’s loan-to-share ratio was 108.2 percent.

“Our primary mission is to help our members achieve their financial goals — whether it’s buying a home, starting a business or sending a child to college — so we are particularly pleased with our lending ratio,” added Petersen.

The Retirement Planning and Investment Center also increased total assets under management to $215.5 million. Petersen noted that the growth was because of its investment representatives helping baby boomers plan for a comfortable retirement.

The credit union’s member equity grew to $153.4 million, representing 11.7 percent of assets, exceeding the regulatory standards. Return on assets was 1.37 percent before Workers GiveBack.

Petersen also acknowledged the opening of its newest branches, one in Westford and an in-school branch office at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg, which is open to the public.

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