Another strong year for Greylock

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PITTSFIELD — The resurgent economy propelled Greylock Federal Credit Union to another strong year in 2018.

The county's largest credit union experienced increases in assets, total deposits and loans during its 83rd year of operations, according to Greylock's annual report.

Net income, or core earnings, at Greylock jumped from $6.7 million in 2017 to $8.4 million last year, an increase of 25%, according to Greylock's Executive Vice President Michael Stoddard. Increased loan growth, an increase in net interest margin from 2.91% to 3.11% percent, and a onetime refund/dividend from the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund caused core earnings to rise.

Regulatory net worth, a key measure of the credit union's financial strength, rose from 10.30% in 2017 to 10.44% last year. That number was 9.94% in 2016.

Last year's increase in regulatory net worth further strengthened Greylock's "well-capitalized" rating that is determined by the National Credit Union Administration, the national regulatory agency for credit unions. The regulatory minimum is 7%.

"It was better than we predicted, but we did expect a good strong year," said Stoddard, summing up Greylock's performance in 2018.

Although unemployment is slightly higher in the Berkshires now than it was at this time last year, it remained under 5% for most of 2018. Greylock officials credited the strong local economy for producing $74 million in new loan growth — an increase of 7.7% from 2017 — bringing the credit union's total loans outstanding to $1.03 billion by the end of the calendar year. Greylock remained Berkshire County's top producer of both residential mortgage and auto loans in 2018.

"Households are more confident," said Greylock's President and CEO John Bissell. "We see it in our survey."

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Another indication of the strengthening local economy — the number of net loan charge offs, the funding a lender recovers from unpaid loans, fell to .031% of Greylock's average loans, the lowest number since 2007.

"That's a pretty good number in the industry," Stoddard said

"It means the number of charge offs we have, the people who can't pay back their loans, is going down."

Greylock finished the calendar year with $1.22 billion in assets, a $60 million increase from 2017.

Total deposits increased by $10 million during 2018 to $1.2 billion. Borrowing remained low at $58 million, but the credit union increased its borrowings from the Federal Home Loan Bank by $42 million to supplement the funding for the strong demand for loans.

Due to its status as a certified Community Development Financial Institution, Greylock originated 281 affordable used auto loans for credit challenged borrowers; helped 22 families avoid foreclosure through a foreclosure prevention plans; and issued 135 "Safety Net," "Borrow and Save" and "Credit Builder" loans to provide emergency access to credit regardless of a member's credit score.

The credit union also made significant investments in online and mobile banking tools. Based on member feedback, Greylock now has 32,700 members who bank online and over 14,000 who use the credit union's mobile app, Bissell said.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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