DEAR BOARD OF DIRECTORS: In an effort to expand their ability to make more loans, many credit unions have begun risk-basing their loans.
Credit unions should engage in risk-based lending, not as a means of re-pricing existing balance sheets, but as a tool to reach out to the under-served and take a risk that might otherwise be avoided. Risk-based lending involves setting a tiered pricing structure that assigns loan rates based upon an individual's credit risk. Through a carefully planned risk-based lending program, credit unions may be able to make loans to somewhat higher-risk borrowers, as well as better serve their more credit-worthy members.
Attached is an informational white paper, which is intended to present a balanced view of the advantages, as well as potential pitfalls, of risk-based lending. This paper is not intended to be all-encompassing. However, it does provide adequate reference material to help you determine whether a risk-based lending program may be appropriate for your credit union.
Safety and soundness should remain of paramount importance when considering any new program and throughout the life of any program. Risk-based lending may be appropriate for credit unions with financially sound operations. If you have any questions after reviewing the attached paper, you should contact your district examiner.
Norman E. D'Amours
Chairman of the Board