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Lima credit union expands to Toledo area

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A strong new player has arrived on the Toledo area financial lending scene with plans to take a slice out of the local mortgage lending pie.

Lima-based Superior Credit Union, one of Ohio’s top-rated credit unions with more than $853 million in assets, will complete its acquisition Wednesday of Co-Op Toledo Credit Union, of Maumee, an institution with $10 million in assets and one branch.

And on Jan. 31 it will close on a second Toledo area acquisition, Great Lakes Credit Union, of Perrysburg, which has $27 million in assets and locations in Perrysburg and Sylvania.

The Co-Op Toledo and Great Lakes locations are being rebranded as Superior Credit Union branches.

The two purchases will make Superior the state’s fifth-largest credit union with more than 90,000 members, nearly $900 million in assets, and 25 branches. But more importantly, it gains immediate access to the Lucas County customer base.

“We’re excited about Toledo. I think Toledo’s a good market but I also think it identifies a lot like the west central Ohio market we serve. I think we’ll do very well there,” said Kurt Neeper, Superior’s senior vice president of business development.

“Our mortgage programs are very strong and we are really looking to be a leader on the mortgage side,” he said.

In ratings by BauerFinancial Inc., a Florida-based financial data firm, Superior Credit Union consistently earns the data firm’s highest rating — a five-star “superior” tag. In the most recent ratings covering the first quarter of 2018, Superior had $117 million in available capital to invest, a strong capital ratio of 13.7 percent, quarterly net income of $2.5 million, and 2017 net income of $9.7 million.

But perhaps its best metric was its nonperforming assets — loans that are delinquent or in default — was a minuscule 0.09 percent.

Mr. Neeper said Superior is in the top 1 percent of credit unions nationwide in terms of delinquency rates mainly because it is very careful in its lending practices.

Before the Great Recession, “We never engaged in subprime or predatory lending. We did no FHA or VA lending because we thought it was too risky,” he said. “We know our members and we’re pretty proud of the fact that we help navigate members into the loan program that’s best for them and not best for us.”

Superior began in 1954 as a 20-member credit union to serve employees of Superior Coach Co., which made funeral coaches.

In 1981 Superior Coach closed its Lima plant and moved to Mexico, but the credit union fought to survive and became one of the first community chartered credit unions, serving all of Lima, to be authorized by the federal National Credit Union Administration.

In 2004 it expanded to include all of Allen County and then the surrounding Auglaize, Putnam, and Hardin counties.

“We actually expanded into Cincinnati last year,” Mr. Neeper said. “That’s because the Lima population has been shrinking the last 30 years.” In fact, there is no growth in the counties it serves, so the logical choice was to expand into Lucas County, he added.

“To grow and serve our members, we needed to expand into other areas, but with the Lima population shrinking, we had to look elsewhere,” Mr. Neeper said.

Contact Blade Business Writer Jon Chavez at jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

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