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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Denise Sweet-McGregor, Chief Executive Officer AEA Federal Credit Union 1780 S. First Avenue, Yuma, Arizona 85364
Direct: 928.343.0219 Mobile: 928.581.1529
Date: July 1, 2010
AEA Federal Credit Union Buckles Down to Power Up
Yuma, AZ –Arizona's stressed economy and declining real estate values have touched down hard on Yuma, Arizona. AEA Federal Credit Union, based in Yuma, is feeling the strain of the harsh economy, but has an action plan in place to weather the storm. Denise Sweet-McGregor, CEO, stated that the Yuma region has experienced unparalleled challenges, but credits AEA Federal Credit Union's ability to endure turbulent times to its long-term financial strength, diversity, and conservative practices.
Sweet-McGregor commented, "AEA Federal Credit Union is a reflection of the communities we serve. The Credit Union's 50,000+ membership base represents a significant percentage of Yuma County's population. Unemployment within Yuma County is the highest in Arizona. When our members thrive, we thrive. When members struggle with job loss, wage reduction, and other economic challenges, we too are affected. Unprecedented loan losses are being experienced in our consumer and commercial portfolios. Deliberate steps have been taken to manage the situation appropriately for the Credit Union as well as our members.
Board Chairman, Ray Drysdale added, "Our Board of Directors and executive management team already have implemented a plan that will refocus fiscal and human resources to best serve members and strengthen the Credit Union's financial foundation. Operations are being consolidated and streamlined to improve efficiency. Personnel are being reassigned to lending and collection counseling departments to support the demand. Staff reduction has also been an unfortunate, but necessary part of this plan. Employees are family. This was a painful decision for the Board and Management."
To further support their consolidation and cost saving strategies, the decision to close their North End Branch came not only as a result of the lack of profitability in its operations over the past 5 years, but also because of their user friendly online branch. "New technology supports our streamlining efforts," stated Teresa Laurent, Senior Vice President. "Today, most of the financial services available through our brick and mortar branches are available online. Many members actually prefer to manage their financial affairs online. Now you can join the Credit Union, add a checking account, apply for a loan, pay your bills, and email money to a co-worker—all from the comfort of your computer. Our online branch is open 24-hours."
"AEA Federal Credit Union has been a benevolent partner in Yuma for 68-years," Sweet-McGregor continued. "People helping people" is what credit unions are all about, and we are committed to helping our members. "When the Yuma Food Bank needed peanut butter – our staff rallied and raised $1,000 in a day. When the school in San Luis, Rio Colorado was damaged due to the earthquake, our staff raised over $1800.00 within a week. Within the past five years, almost $400,000 in financial support has been donated to community service organizations and to students in the form of scholarships. AEA FCU has always extended the helping hand. Now, we have to turn more of our attention and resources inward to strengthen the Credit Union's financial footing."
Sweet-McGregor stated, "For over half a century, AEA Federal Credit Union has never changed names, never merged, never faltered during economic downturns. Most financial institutions cannot make that statement. AEA Federal Credit Union has been voted Yuma's Best Financial Institution for the past 9 years. We are proud of this honor and are dedicated to serving our membership long into the future."
AEA Federal Credit Union has grown with the communities of Yuma and La Paz counties for 68 years. Currently they are $356,000,000.00 in assets with two offices in Yuma, one in the Foothills, one in Somerton and one in Parker. They are a member of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an independent federal agency that regulates charters and supervises federal credit unions. NCUA, with the backing of the full faith and credit of the US government, also operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of nearly 90 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the majority of state-chartered credit unions. Deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 per eligible account.
"Our members know their money is safe at AEA" stated Sweet McGregor. Even during this turbulent time, their money is still safe.
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