Troubled Chetco Had ‘No Way Out,’ Rogue CEO Gene Pelham Says

Rogue Credit Union CEO Gene Pelham oversaw the acquisition of Chetco Federal Credit Union’s assets after its failure in 2012.

Rogue Credit Union CEO Gene Pelham told the Curry Coastal Pilot this week that Chetco Federal Credit Union had “no way out” of the downward spiral that led to its failure in 2012 and that Rogue “fought really hard” to acquire Chetco’s assets.

“There is business here if you work for it,” Pelham told the paper.

An NCUA report released on Oct. 1 blames an overextension of loans, oversights, and inadequate examiner training for Chetco’s collapse. The credit union allowed its business loan portfolio to grow to more than 600 percent of its net worth, the report says, and officials used “loan renewals and modifications” to mask loan delinquencies that led to increased losses in a declining economy.

Rogue took over the failed credit union on Jan. 1, 2013, and is now the largest financial institution in Oregon’s Curry County, the Pilot says, with 30 percent of market share and more than $187 million in deposits. Consumer lending is up 300 percent in Brookings and 250 percent in Harbor since the takeover, the paper reports, and the credit union is trying to make larger grants available to the community.

Rogue is a survivor of the Great Recession, Pelham told the paper.

“I used to say we weathered the financial catastrophe moderately unscathed,” he said. “But after seeing what happened to others, I now say, ‘completely unscathed.’”

You’ll find the full Curry Coastal Pilot story online here.

 

Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

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