Bethpage Federal Credit Union, New York, had the highest IRA balance as a percentage of total shares - almost $198 million- and the highest
number of IRA accounts at 11,145 in the top 50 of CUs over $50 million-in-assets as of Sept. 30, 2001, according to Callahan and Associates data.
And because tax time means IRA season at credit unions, Bethpage FCU President/CEO Kirk Kordeleski acknowledged the CU would again be marketing the advantages of IRAs to members, especially since the participation limits have risen (for individuals, to $3,000 from $2,000, or $3,500 if over age 50; and for couples, to $6,000 from $4,000 or $7,000 if over age 50). Marketing of IRAs is done through direct mail, in-branch promotions and through email marketing. The CU's Web address is (www.bethpagefcu.com/).
For BFCU, IRAs are 19.37% of total shares and the average IRA balance is $17,735, and Kordeleski added that "I've been here 10 years and it's been that way (nearly 11% of members and 20% of balances) for longer than that." (BFCU has assets of $1.2 billion and 102,000 members. Capital stands at 11.75%.)
Kordeleski noted that BFCU members were "net savers" before the stock market bubble of the 90s, and continue to be. The CU's original sponsor, the Grumann Corporation folded in that same timeframe and its employees were the first wave of IRA savers. The CU offered above market rates (4.64%) and matched CD rates to give members greater flexibility and choice. "Members like that greater flexibility. They can move funds and there is little paperwork," he said.
There has been a spike in net new balance of $12 million, (without dividends) Kordeleski said, but most of that has been in Money Market Accounts. Some of that money will eventually go back to the equities market, but "people aren't going to run it out. It'll be more like a slow outflow, and all of it won't leave," said Kordeleski.
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