San Diego Business Journal

Navy Federal Credit Union plans to expand its branches in San Diego County by three this year, despite proclaiming that an increasing number of its members use mobile banking.

The three new branches — in Point Loma, Clairemont and Encinitas — would bring the total Navy Fed branches in the county to 21 and add about 26 employees to its regional work force of about 300, said June Sanchez, one of two regional managers for the county.

“We want to serve our members as best we can, and we listen to them when they tell us where we should build new branches,” Sanchez said.

The new branch near the Navy’s submarine base at Point Loma, expected to open in mid-April, should take some of heavy traffic from its Mission Valley branch, Sanchez said.

Navy Fed, the largest credit union in the world with $55.5 billion in total assets, has been expanding its branch network in recent years, even adding one at Camp Lemonnier in the East African nation of Djibouti.

In all, Navy Fed has 245 branches and some 500 ATMs worldwide.

Navy Fed said it’s expanding its branches even though a big segment of membership consists of younger people who have adopted mobile banking, Sanchez said.

Because so many of its members are active military, when they are deployed, it’s good to know that their loved ones have the ability to walk into a branch office and get help on various financial matters with a live person, she said.

The new branch at Clairemont Town Square is scheduled to open by the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter, and the Encinitas branch will do so by the end of this year, the credit union said.

• • •

Credit unions total profits decline: The aggregate net income for the nation’s nearly 7,000 credit unions declined last year to $8.2 billion from the $8.6 billion in 2012, according to SNL Financial.

The Virginia-based financial research firm said the industry’s total assets grew 3.91 percent last year to about $1.075 trillion, while total loans increased by nearly 8 percent to $653 billion. Deposits were up by 3.65 percent to $922 billion.

The drop in the credit unions’ aggregate net income was the first time that’s happened since 2008 when the industry posted net losses of about $150 million, SNL said.

Of course, Navy Federal Credit Union, based in Vienna, Va., had the greatest net income of any credit union with $695.8 million last year. The profit was down from 2012, when it reported $760.4 million in net income.

The recent SNL report noted the nation’s largest credit unions — those with more than $10 billion in assets, of which there are four — are dealing with a proposal to undertake stress testing. That would be similar to what large banks must now do to prove they could survive another significant economic downturn.

While the stress testing isn’t required as yet, the National Credit Union Administration, the industry’s regulatory body, is considering putting this in place for the biggest credit unions.

“We are aware the NCUA is drafting a proposal requiring credit unions exceeding $10 billion in assets to undergo annual stress tests. Navy Federal remains well-capitalized, and we’re monitoring the progress of this proposal as it goes forward,” a Navy Fed spokesman said.

• • •

Opus files for IPO: Opus Bank, the Irvine lender that expanded its footprint in San Diego from two to five branches in 2012, filed a registration statement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for an initial public offering of a yet undetermined amount.

Founded in 2010 through a recapitalization of a troubled Southern California bank, Opus has done four acquisitions since and was at $3.7 billion in total assets at the end of 2013.

The shares will be sold by the bank and selling shareholders. The bank applied to list its shares on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker OPB.

Opus operates 60 branches in California, Washington and Arizona.

• • •

San Diego County CU opens 33rd branch: San Diego County Credit Union, the area’s largest locally based credit union with $6.4 billion in assets, opened a new office in North Park at 3180 University Ave. The branch will be open 9 am. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The newest branch brings SDCCU’s total to 33, the most of any credit union in the county.

• • •

Seacoast Commerce adds SBA office: Seacoast Commerce Bank, now based in Rancho Bernardo, opened a new SBA loan production office in Lakewood, Colo., near Denver, bringing the total SBA production network to 12, the bank said. Tom Hollinshead was hired as the manager. He has about 27 years of SBA lending experience and has worked in the Denver area for the last 19 years, the bank said.

Send news about locally based financial institutions to Mike Allen via email at mallen@sdbj.com. He can be reached at 858-277-6359.