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NCUA spokeswoman: It's business as usual at AEA
It's business as usual for the AEA Federal Credit Union after being placed in conservatorship Friday, the National Credit Union Administration assures members and the community.
Members can make deposits, withdraw funds, secure loans and make payments as always, Cherie Umbel, spokeswoman for NCUA Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, told the Yuma Sun Tuesday.
“NCUA wants to stress that federal insurance protection ensures that AEA member accounts are safe, insured to at least $250,000 per account and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government,” she added.
As part of the conservatorship, AEA's board of directors and supervisory committee have been dissolved, she said.
NCUA, the federal agency that regulates and insures credit unions, is now the official operating board for the credit union under the management of Thomas Martin, who was named conservatorship CEO.
Martin has 15 years' experience with credit unions, most recently as CEO of Continental Federal Credit Union in Tempe and chief financial officer of Arizona Central Credit Union in Phoenix. In addition, he served 25 years in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve.
All employees currently remain at the credit union, Umbel said.
That includes Denise Sweet-McGregor, who had been interim CEO since the retirement of Ken Bredemeyer last spring. Sweet-McGregor continues to serve AEA as executive vice president, Umbel said.
As conservator, NCUA will be reviewing all aspects of operations in the coming weeks and months, she said.
“NCUA's primary goal is to continue safe, sound financial services for the credit union members,” Umbel said.
She said that eventually, the credit union could be returned to member control or perhaps a merger could occur.
“There are various options available when a credit union is placed into conservatorship. The option of closure takes place only as a last resort. Currently, NCUA's efforts are focused on maintaining the highest quality service for the 49,000 members.”
A letter to AEA members posted on the credit union's website at http://www.aeafcu.org states: “NCUA now exercises oversight for all areas of credit union operations. NCUA and the credit union's management team will work to protect member assets and maintain confidence in the institution.
“The most important thing to know is this: AEA Federal Credit Union remains dedicated to meeting your financial services needs and protecting your deposits. Our five branches are open for business as usual, delivering the high level of service our members expect from us. ... When you walk into a branch office or contact us over the phone, the same dependable and familiar staff you know and trust will still be there to assist you.”
AEA has been struggling with a declining financial condition stemming from losses of millions of dollars in its commercial loan portfolio.
After a lengthy FBI investigation, a Phoenix grand jury recently indicted AEA's former vice president of lending, Bill Liddle, his wife Rhonda and businessman Frank Ruiz on several counts for an alleged kickback scheme.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853.