President’s Message

Two signs of the times

Recently, I have had several members either call me or stop me in the hallway to ask if their money was safe at the credit union considering the latest out of Bernanke and friends about rates staying low for several years. I responded ‘of course’! We are well capitalized with good income, low loan losses and are keeping our expenses in line. Now I don’t want to do a ‘however’, I just want to state some facts of what I see in the near future. Fact is that our members are savers and not borrowers which is why our loan to share ratio is 25.5% as of August. The money we can’t loan out we put into investments and though we have been very prudent in our investment choices, the reality is that we are forced to reinvest money that was in certificates at 4 and 5% to much lower rates in today’s market. That hurts. We are also now paying rent after 35+ years rent free. That also hurts. On the other hand we are still finding ways to trim other operating expenses so that we can continue to offer our wonderful variety of no-fee services and pay exceptional rates to all of our savers. I must admit, though, that given the likelihood of an extended period of super-low rates, we may be forced to nudge our rates down just a bit. After all, I want to be able to tell those members in the hall and on the phone that PFCU continues to be a safe, as well as profitable, place for their money.

The second ‘sign of the times’ is necessary to share so that you are aware of what the ‘bad guys’ are up to in this down economy. Apparently they are hurting too and getting more brazen. We had been warned by the authorities that the latest scam is to steal member’s information and access their HELOC’s to wire funds out of the country and sure enough, in one week we had two attempts. The wires did not go out due to our alert staff. We know our members so well we know when something is not right. But we were very surprised at how much information the bad guys knew about our members, so if you call in and need help please note that we may ask an unusual or different question than we have in the past just to be sure we are correctly identifying you and safeguarding your assets. Also, remember that we will never call or email you asking for account numbers.

I told the last bad guy to leave our credit union alone, that we know our members too well to give him any of their money. I just hope he listened and told his friends!

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