Callahan Bowl VII

As the 45th installment of America’s favorite game approaches, Callahan makes the call — will it be the Steelers or the Packers — using what we know best: credit union performance.


Super Bowl XLV will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers, who bring a punishing defense led by James Harrison and an offense that relies on Rashard Mendenhall to fuel its ground game. The Green Bay Packers made it to Dallas on the arm (and legs) of Aaron Rodgers and the blitzes of Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson. The teams are evenly matched. So who’s going to win?

Green Bay might be the favorite in Vegas, but there’s only one way to settle this without actually playing the game: Go to the credit unions. We’ll examine key metrics for each state’s cooperatives and determine a winner. The two states are well-matched. Pennsylvania credit unions exceed in productivity, earnings, and capital, and Wisconsin credit unions are unmatched in lending and member relationships. 

Here we go.

12-month Loan Growth
Pennsylvania: 3.7%
Wisconsin: 4.1%

The recession hit credit union loan portfolios with a particular ferocity, but both of these states are recovering. Pennsylvania’s credit unions averaged 3.7% loan growth over the past twelve months. But the Wisconsin folks are resilient. In aggregate, they posted 12-month loan growth of 4.1%.
Point: Cheese

Net Income Per FTE
Pennsylvania: $19,352
Wisconsin: $10,146

The Pennsylvania credit unions mount a comeback here as they generated higher levels of net income on a per employee basis. The Keystone State knows how to maximize resources.
Point: Steel

Pennsylvania: 66.1%
Wisconsin: 88.5%

Pennsylvania credit unions posted a 66.1% loan-to-share ratio as of September 30. Although they are more liquid, having higher earning assets in this market and rate environment is critical. Wisconsin’s impressive 88.5% ratio dominates. Just like Green Bay’s defense.
Point: Cheese

Average Member Relationship
Pennsylvania: $13,619
Wisconsin: $15,439

The depth of member relationships is a good indication of credit union performance and members’ willingness to do business with their credit unions. Both of these groups do an excellent job taking care of those around them. The Packers are owned by their season ticketholders, so perhaps that has something to do with their win here.
Point: Cheese

Operating Expense per Member
Pennsylvania: $204
Wisconsin: $244

Cutting costs is on everyone’s mind today; Americans have been shocked into that line of thinking by the recession. As the economy rolls back to health, both states are humming along in terms of efficiency but the steel workers are slightly more fluid.
Point: Steel

Capital per Member
Pennsylvania: $1,052
Wisconsin: $1,000

The Packers and the Steelers won’t be able to let a single opportunity slip away if they want to claim the title. They’ll have to capitalize on them all. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin credit unions do a great job maintaining strong capital bases for reserves and future expansion efforts. Pennsylvania nudges the Badger State by just $52.
Point: Steel

As you might have noticed, it’s a tie.

Steel: 3, Cheese: 3.

As we race toward the end of this blog post, which is the written equivalent of the fourth quarter, one last stat comparison determines it all.

Dollar of Revenue for Every Dollar of Salary and Benefits
Pennsylvania: $3.78
Wisconsin: $3.38

It’s close. Both groups get a respectable return on their investments in employees. In Pennsylvania, they manage to squeeze out 40 cents more.

That’s what the Super Bowl comes down to. David Tyree’s helmet. Santonio Holmes’ toes. 40 cents.
Point: Steel

Steel: 4 Cheese: 3

The Steelers will win Super Bowl XLV. By 1 point. 31-30.

Lydia’s Note: I’m the analyst that provided Thomas with data.The data largely favored the Packers. For the last metric, I would have chosen something more cooperative in nature that indicates member usage/transactions such as share draft penetration (Wisconsin squeaks ahead) or credit union activity in their marketplace. Wisconsin credit unions originated $989,000 in loans thru the first nine months of 2010 on a per FTE basis. Pennsylvania institutions, despite higher productivity in nearly all other areas, only originated $692,000. In both of these circumstances, the Packers are the clear winner. And let's not forget, as Thomas notes, the Packers are cooperatively owned. 

Thomas’s Note: I stand by the pick.


Feb. 2, 2011


  • While not a Credit Union metric, Wisconsin leads PA in both bank failures and home foreclosures. So I will have to pick the Steelers, even though I am a long time Packer fan. If data can predict the SB then I think we have a winner.
    Paul Stull
  • Thankfully, there will be game played to make the final determination. :O)

    I believe the Packers will take it.
  • I think the bank failures metric is a point in Wisconsin's favor, Paul.

    I'm also not sure that stinginess with employees should have been the tiebreaker, Thomas. Overall,I prefer Lydia's take.
    Frank Evans
  • Lydia is right on -- Packers all the way!
    Cathie Tierney
  • Ok, one more thought. As financial institutions can we really back a team called "The Steelers". My risk management dept is opposed to stealing. Sorry....couldn't resist.
    Paul Stull
  • Thoroughly enjoyed this article, but I gotta go with the Packers also! I guess we'll see when the game is played... If you've done this before, I'd like to know your stats!
    Aimee Morris
  • Once again, those who underestimate the Packers, have been shown the errors of their ways!