Credit union to close 8 branches, lay off 37
Rebecca U. Cho, Staff Writer
Created: 11/30/2010 09:08:08 PM PST

Arrowhead Credit Union will close eight branches and lay off 37 employees by the end of the year in an effort to improve its bottom line, the San Bernardino-based institution said Tuesday.

The closings include six branches inside Stater Bros. Markets in Loma Linda, Beaumont, Wildomar, San Bernardino, Fontana and Corona. Two stand-alone locations, on Mount Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino and in Norco, will also close shop.

“This was part of our plan to continue to reduce expenses and bring the credit union back to profitability and remain in the community,” said Elsa Montes, an Arrowhead spokeswoman. “Nobody likes to consolidate, but it is our plan to continue to be here and serve our members.”

Eleven standalone branches remain open, with hours of operations expanding beginning Jan. 3. Those are in Chino, Crestline, Fontana, Highland, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, Riverside, Yucaipa and San Bernardino locations on Sierra Way and Del Rosa Avenue.

The branch reductions come five months after federal regulators seized Arrowhead, on June 25, and placed it into a conservatorship, giving the longtime Inland Empire institution’s “declining financial condition” as the reason.

Montes said the credit union looked at member transaction patterns, among other factors, in deciding which branches to close.

“The core of our membership and the branches with the highest use are those 11 branches that are remaining open,” Montes said.

Services to members will continue, including access to 28,000 free ATMs, and member funds are federally insured to at least $250,000. The closed branches are also within 10 minutes of branches that are remaining open, except for the Wildomar location, Montes said.

While 37 employees will lose their jobs, others have been offered positions at other branches, Montes said. Arrowhead branches will be restructured, meaning some full-time employees will go to part time, she said.

Under the National Credit Union Administration, the federal regulator of credit unions, Arrowhead has shrunk in size from $808 million in assets to $707 million. Business loans were discontinued in July. The credit union also lost 11,700 members between July and September, according to the most recent regulatory filings.

But the interim managers have reduced operating expenses by more than 30 percent from 2009, Arrowhead said in a statement.

To read entire story, click here.