Doug Fecher, President & CEO
Wright-Patt Credit Union ($2.6B, Fairborn, OH)
Economic activity is flat. Our economy is/was manufacturing-based. We lost 5 GM plants and a large multi-national company over the past 3 years. Our lone economic bright spot is the large military base that serves as our core market. However, with talk of sequestration and military cutbacks, the base is always a concern. Unemployment runs 9.0% or so and is relatively flat.
Despite the lack of economic activity in the area we have produced strong loan growth as the result of a robust and aggressively managed indirect loan program. We have a strong mortgage program also, but have been selling most producing into the secondary market. We have been controlling deposit growth through loan rates, preferring to only attract new deposits as needed to fund loan growth.
Dominic Rocco, Financial Analyst
Century Federal CU ($338M, Cleveland, OH)
2013 is looking optimistic. REOs are still a troubling issue; however with relative improvements in the real estate market, shrinking supply and price stabilization there is some flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. Margin compression seems to be the looming factor for the year. Where this year’s income will come from still remains a problematic topic. The fiscal cliff problems will also be a contributing drag on economic growth, both nationally and locally, as tax increases will affect consumer spending & savings rates.
Northeast Ohio economic activity has stabilized primarily due to a good healthcare industry and growth in the natural gas and shale businesses as well as unemployment rates remaining below national averages. The local area has seen a large influx of venture capital funds primarily in tech and start-up firms an excellent sign for the region. Managing shrinking interest rate margins and further interest rate risk from fixed refinanced mortgages will propose the greatest challenge of the year.