What: Mid Oregon Credit Union

What it does: Serves members in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties by keeping deposits and making loans

Pictured: Bill Anderson, CEO

Employees: 91

Website: www.midoregon.com

All of Mid Oregon Credit Union’s challenges stem from growth, and those are the kind of problems CEO Bill Anderson wants.

“You’re either growing, or you’re dying,” said Anderson, 57. “You can’t just tread water.”

Mid Oregon is one of several credit unions serving Central Oregon, but it’s the only community credit union with its headquarters in Bend. It also has the largest share of deposits at about $225 million in deposits, or about 10 percent of all deposits at any financial institution in the tri-county market, Anderson said. Mid Oregon’s market share is behind Bend-based Bank of the Cascades and three big banks — Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo — but far ahead of the other credit unions, he said.

Because of Central Oregon’s population growth, Mid Oregon is seeing such an influx of deposits that it’s difficult to keep earnings growing at the same pace, Anderson said. Closing the books on 2016, Mid Oregon saw loans grow 13 percent to $166.2 million, Anderson said, and deposits grew by 17 percent. Too many deposits can actually drag down the credit union’s performance, which is measured as a ratio of earnings to assets. Mid Oregon’s net worth ratio, as of Sept. 30, was 8.46 percent, compared with an industry average of 10.85 percent, according to the National Credit Union Administration in Washington, D.C. Any credit union with a net worth ratio larger than 7 percent is considered well-capitalized, according to the administration, which oversees credit unions.

“We need to get loans out,” Anderson said.

Most of Mid Oregon’s loan portfolio is in vehicle and real estate loans, but the credit union is also going further into commercial lending, a program it began during the Great Recession to diversify its assets. At the end of 2016, Mid Oregon had $32.8 million in business loans and lines of credit.

The credit union is attracting business owners such as Butch Roberts, the owner of Cascade Indoor Sports, and a member for more than 20 years. Roberts said he talked with multiple financial institutions about a construction loan for his next venture, 18th Street Sportsplex.

Roberts decided to go with Mid Oregon because the credit union didn’t try to steer him toward a loan backed by the Small Business Administration, which would require more paperwork and take longer to process.

Roberts said he felt Mid Oregon’s team understood his business. “You’ve got to be able to speak the same language,” he said.

While competing head-to-head with banks, Mid Oregon’s marketing strategy is low-key. Anderson said most of its business comes word-of-mouth from its 26,000 members. Mid Oregon has its roots as a teachers credit union, founded by eight Prineville educators in 1957. To this day its membership penetrates about half of the Bend-La Pine Schools employee base, Anderson said.

Bankers often complain credit unions have an unfair advantage because they’re not subject to federal income tax, which lowers their costs. Anderson said Mid Oregon has tried to maintain positive relationships with all financial institutions.

“Local and regional banks took an unfair hit in public perception,” he said. “We don’t battle locally. We do our battling in Salem and (Washington) D.C.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

Q: You’ve been at Mid Oregon since 1990. What have you learned about the region?

A: Growth — that’s the big story for the past three decades. Growth brings lots of challenges, but they’re great challenges to have. Much better than having a stagnant economy.

Q: How do you expect credit unions will fare under President Donald Trump’s administration?

A: We have to comply with all the same regulations (as banks). So if there can be any kind of regulatory relief, that would help credit unions.

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