Ascend Credit Union is headquartered in Tullahoma and is the 2nd largest credit union in the state of Tennessee. It is also the 109th largest credit union in the nation. It was established in 1951 and as of March of 2014, it had grown to 331 employees and 144,500 members. Ascend Credit Union's money market rates are 36% higher than the national average, and it boasts a A+ health rating.
Membership into Ascend FCU is open to those who live, work, worship, or attend school in certain areas of Tennessee. People 50 and over can qualify from additional parts of Tennessee by joining the 50 Plus Club. - See Details
Great website. Easy to pay bills. Good customer service. That's good enough for me.
I have been a member of Ascend FCU for 10+ years before they changed their name to Ascend. Over the past couple of years things have been changing. Their customer service is getting worse and they started to charge a monthly fee for checking accounts. I have since changed banks but Ascend used to be a good bank but not any longer.
I’m writing to you today as a matter of conscience and as the only way I have to warn you of a danger to this institution; cronyism. Prior to this letter, I will have tendered my resignation from the Ascend IT Department but I would be remiss if I simply walked away from this organization without attempting to bring to light the reasons why, even though I will not be available to view, or benefit from, any potential changes. As a fellow member of the Credit Union, I have a vested interest in the welfare of this institution and cannot in good conscience remain silent as a storm approaches while the watchmen signal the all clear.
The level of cronyism or nepotism, if you prefer, is present and active at the highest levels of the
organization. The manner of this letter’s delivery is the least favored approach I would choose, as it is a gross violation of the chain of command, however the bonds between the CEO, VP of HR, and VP of IT are such that any objective assessment is impossible and these concerns have already been dismissed and blame redirected away from the responsible parties. If it is not known to you all, the current VP of IT is a former CFO and has no background in IT, yet was given the job without qualification by her friend and college roommate, the CEO. The VP of HR is close personal friends with both parties, making any objectivity impossible. All this in and of itself would not be damning, however, a review of the handling of the IT department shows the lack of objective review engaged by the CEO, and warrants the drastic steps of bringing this to your attention.
Your IT department has suffered from mismanagement for at least five years. The VP of IT has
employed managers with little to no knowledge of IT including a friend from the General Ledger department and a Network manager whose only IT experience was as help desk manager who was able to oversell herself due to the ignorance of the IT VP. The result of this had been large numbers of service contracts expiring to the detriment of the Credit Union and added stress on the department. Mismanagement at both a managerial and technical level have placed the IT department, the technological backbone of the entire organization in significant jeopardy.
The Ascend core system, has not changed in 25 years, which are ages in the IT world. This stasis is at the insistence of the Vice President of IT, who has stated, “she’ll retire with .” Would you imagine a 1.6 Billion dollar financial institution would run its operations on 1990s technology, or would you continue using your computer from 1990? This is essentially what Ascend is doing.
As your VP of Mortgage Services, most of the IT staff and others can attest to, the core system impacts nearly all attempts to improve other applications, and places Ascend at a severe disadvantage when faced with other more modern and expanding Credit Unions such as Redstone. Additionally the , which runs the branch terminals, has not been kept up and is only now receiving an upgrade after five years; an upgrade which is still hampered by the rigid clinging to the 25 year old core system which not even the manufacturer truly supports any longer.
The morale of the IT department specifically, as that is the only place to which I can honestly testify, is abysmal. The manager of Host Ops, who is a close friend of the VP of IT, has been reported numerous times for abusive comments with no real change or consequence. The VP herself offers little to no appreciation or evidence of confidence any of her subordinates which she isn’t personally friendly with, whether the Senior Engineer/AVP of IT, or other members of the NetOps department. Efforts to promote modernization, if they are made at all, are met with a smiling dismissal or blind confidence of the status quo. For an organization which boasts of 1.6 Billion in assets, anyone who looks outside the cocoon of Tullahoma can tell we are hopelessly, hilariously out of date. Ascend cannot hope to rely on blind luck for long, and as we see increased competition from Redstone, namely, it may be that luck has run its course.
During my experience with the department, the former AVP of IT was brought in to modernize the department and it's practices and was fought every step of the way. Morale suffered as it was known from multiple sources that despite his vast experience, his breadth of knowledge, and the volume of work he undertook, he was strung along through one probationary extension after another. How can any employee have confidence in their own position when their own superiors are treated in such a fashion?
The IT infrastructure is being employed and implemented almost exclusively by consultants with little to no efforts at training the internal staff in its management. This dependence on external "experts" results in the internal staff with little understanding how to address the problem, no documentation for guidance, and other consulting firms must be employed, usually with significant delay, when time is of the essence. As I'm now an IT consultant, I can testify this is a frequently needless expense. When consultants are employed, chances are greater that they either take longer than necessary, or in haste and ignorance, cause further damage to the infrastructure. I have personal experience with the latter situation. This stems from the lack of confidence in the department and a lack of understanding of IT in general.
The amount of money invested without understanding, and wasted through mismanagement should be addressed if Ascend is to continue to stand on firm footing. The awful morale of the IT department may make all the money invested moot.
When training has been proposed, it comes with strings because of a fear of abandonment after such valuable knowledge is obtained. If the staff were managed in a way that inspired confidence, as opposed to it's current culture, this concern would be groundless. As it stands, even obligations of thousands of dollars in debt may not prevent others from leaving shortly. My departure and that of the AVP are likely not the last that will occur.
What I've described serves to illustrate the poor management at all levels and danger of allowing it to continue. Like the cronyism of Washington, this organization can ill afford to allow the cronyism of its upper management to affect the future of its members’ funds. The employees of Ascend are stewards of our members’ money. To act like Washington politicians, to treat members' money with the same disregard, is unconscionable and something that would continue unabated without this letter. I ask your forgiveness for the manner of its delivery, and hope you’ll take these words in the spirit they are intended, that of sober warning. I will no longer be a member of Ascend after this, however I pray you all will heed my words and take appropriate action.
The Texas Ratio is an indicator of how much capital a bank has available compared to the total value of loans considered at risk. As of March 31, 2014 Ascend Credit Union had $4.43 million in non-current loans and owned real-estate with $281.13 million in equity and loan loss allowances on hand to cover it. This gives Ascend Credit Union a Texas Ratio of 1.58% which is excellent. Any bank with a Texas Ratio near or greater than 100% is considered at risk.
The Texas Ratio for Ascend Credit Union experienced no significant changes from 1.71% as of March 31, 2013 to 1.58% as of March 31, 2014, resulting in a positive change of 7.90%.This indicates that the balance sheet and financial strength for Ascend Credit Union has had no significant changes in recent periods.
In the past year, Ascend Credit Union has increased its total deposits by $52.9 million, resulting in 3.94% growth for the year. A strong track record of growth is an indicator of consumer confidence and the bank's ability to strengthen its balance sheet. The growth Ascend Credit Union has shown is excellent.
Both FDIC and NCUA consider capitalization levels of banks and credit unions to be of high importance. Higher capitalization allows for a greater buffer when cover loans that may fail in the future. Ascend Credit Union has $1.69 billion in assets with $281.13 million in equity, resulting in a capitalization level of 16.66%, which is excellent.
|Assets and Liabilities|
|Equity Capital||$275.97 million|
|Loan Loss Allowance||$5.16 million|
|Unbacked Noncurrent Loans||$3.00 million|
|Real Estate Owned||$1.43 million|
|Historic Data - March 2013|
|Equity Capital||$271.13 million|
|Loan Loss Allowance||$5.33 million|
|Unbacked Noncurrent Loans||$3.00 million|
|Real Estate Owned||$931,000|
|Profit Margin - Quarterly|
|Net Interest Margin||0.96%|
|Return on Assets||1.11%|
|Return on Equity||6.78%|
|Interest Income||$11.70 million|
Always verify rates and promotions with the bank or credit union. We are not Ascend Credit Union, we are a rate comparison website and can not provide official rates or promotions.
|0.60%||$500k||-||Money Market Account|
|0.10%||-||-||Preferred Share Draft|
|0.00%||-||-||Legacy Share Draft|
|1.46%||$1k||-||60 Month Share Certificate|
|1.00%||$1k||-||36 Month Share Certificate|
|0.80%||$1k||-||30 Month Share Certificate|
|0.75%||$1k||-||24 Month Share Certificate|
|0.70%||$1k||-||18 Month Share Certificate|
|0.70%||$50||-||36 Month Variable Home Savings Certificate|
|0.65%||$5k||-||15 Month Member's Advantage Share Certificate|
|0.50%||$1k||-||12 Month Share Certificate|
|0.45%||$50||-||12 Month Variable Special Savings Certificate|
|0.40%||$1k||-||6 Month Share Certificate|
|0.40%||$500||-||6 Month Basic Certificate|
|0.35%||$1k||-||3 Month Share Certificate|
|0.95%||-||-||12 Month Variable IRA Share Certificate|
|0.80%||$1k||-||30 Month IRA Share Certificate|
|0.70%||$1k||-||18 Month IRA Share Certificate|
|0.50%||$1k||-||12 Month IRA Share Certificate|
|0.40%||$1k||-||6 Month IRA Share Certificate|
|0.35%||$1k||-||3 Month IRA Share Certificate|