Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Credit Union In Danger Of Insolvency

The Ann Arbor News reports from Michigan. "A federal agency announced Monday it has assumed control of operations at Ann Arbor-based Huron River Area Credit Union. Regulators from the National Credit Union Administration), the independent federal agency that charters and supervises federal credit unions has taken over the credit union's management, placing it in conservatorship."

"'We found it's been operating in an unsafe and unsound manner and is in imminent danger of insolvency,' said Kathy Fagan, spokesperson for the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services. 'This was something that came up suddenly.'"

"A credit union is typically placed into conservatorship when its loan or investment portfolios are judged by regulators as too risky, putting the institution's viability in danger, said David Adams, chief executive officer of a trade association that represents credit unions, including Huron River."

"'Most often regulators are identifying problems well in advance of it being a crisis and I suspect that's what's happened here,' said Adams."

"According to its Web site, the credit union serves people working primarily in engineering or scientific fields in southeast Michigan and has branches in Howell, Brighton, Center Line, Auburn Hills, Chelsea and Ann Arbor."

"Sreedhar Bharath, a professor of finance at University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, speculated the move may be due to the actual or anticipated future foreclosures due to the area's recent job losses. He also suggested the move may be an attempt keep customers, including other financial institutions, from panicking and withdrawing their money."

"'Home lending in Michigan in this climate is a risky bet. They may be being cautious and taking action even before bad things are happening,' he said. 'My guess is you might see more of this happening in the future. Foreclosure rates are up in Michigan.'"


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