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Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Arrowhead Credit Union to close eight branches (Press Enterprise) November 30, 2010
At the end of September, Arrowhead had 137,779 members and 338 full- and part-time employees. Six months earlier, the credit union had 151,160 members and 449 employees.
At the end of 2009, the credit union had 25 branches. After Dec. 31, Arrowhead will have 11 branches: two in San Bernardino and one each in Chino, Crestline, Fontana, Highland, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, Riverside and Yucaipa.
John McKechnie, a spokesman for the NCUA, said in an e-mail that the agency expects to reduce its staff by 37 employees as a result. Twenty-seven employees were laid off in July and 10 workers have been laid off since October.
"Some employees at the closed branches are being offered positions at other locations," he said.
Jack Brown, CEO of Stater Bros., said it was the NCUA's decision, not his, to close the branches inside his stores.
"The leases were written very openly. That gave them an easy way out," he said of the agreements signed by Arrowhead's former management team.
"Because they were a hometown credit union we worked very hard to accommodate their needs," he said. "They were a great partner."
Stater Bros. has already partnered with a new financial institution, a major bank, to fill that space, he said, declining to name the bank.
Brown said he expected the new bank would offer even more services than the credit union could.
Fernando Juarez, 38, walked out of the credit union's branch off Mt. Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino on Tuesday afternoon unsure if he'd remain a member or transfer his accounts entirely to Chase where he also banks. His branch is set to close Dec. 31.
He sometimes visited the branch three times a week, since it is located between his home and the nearby Santa Fe Depot where he works. He had visited that day to make an appointment with a loan officer to review his options for a home loan having heard through his union that getting it through the credit union was, "the best way to go."
John Husing is a Redlands-based economist and an Arrowhead Credit Union member who transferred the bulk of his accounts to another financial institution after regulators took over Arrowhead. The credit union was an early sponsor of his quarterly economic reports starting in 1988. Husing has been critical of the NCUA, co-authoring a letter to the agency in late July seeking answers and asking that the credit union be given back to the community.
"I fully expect them to continue down their path of ruining the place," Husing said. "They're basically downsizing it to nothing."
With the exception of Crestline, the other branches will have slightly extended hours beginning Jan. 3, staying open an extra half-hour into the evening from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Operating hours will remain 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and the downtown San Bernardino branch will join others by staying open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.