Press Releases


MFA advised on LLCU to acquire Nokomis Savings Bank

Press Release: Cayla Hittmeier 4.28.2023

Decatur, IL and Nokomis, IL, April 28, 2023 – Land of Lincoln Credit Union (“Land of Lincoln”) of Decatur, IL and Nokomis Savings Bank (“Nokomis”) of Nokomis, IL jointly announced today that they have entered into an agreement whereby Land of Lincoln will acquire Nokomis Savings Bank.

While the agreement is contingent on obtaining regulatory and member approvals, as required, the proposed transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both institutions. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2024. When the acquisition is complete, Land of Lincoln will have approximately $482 million in assets and increase its footprint into Montgomery County, Illinois, and the surrounding areas with a total of 15 branches.

Robert Ares, President & CEO of Land of Lincoln stated, “We are excited for the opportunity to partner with Nokomis Savings Bank and expand access to our service in Montgomery County and other contiguous market areas. This acquisition is part of Land of Lincoln’s strategic growth plan, which includes adding branches and markets to better assist our members throughout Illinois. Nokomis Savings Bank’s customers will become members of Land of Lincoln with full access to our wide array of products and services. We look forward to welcoming Nokomis Savings Bank’s customers and employees into our family.”

Charles O’Malley, President of Nokomis commented, “We are delighted for the opportunity to join Land of Lincoln and believe this partnership will result in many benefits to our customers, employees, and community. We look forward to working with Land of Lincoln to see this exciting transaction through to closing.”

About Land of Lincoln Credit Union
With approximately $457 million in assets, over 120 employees, 14 branches, and over 34,000 members, Land of Lincoln Credit Union offers a full menu of financial services including mortgages, auto loans, checking accounts and business loans and deposits. Land of Lincoln Credit Union remains dedicated to putting members first. More information about Land of Lincoln Credit Union can be found at

About Nokomis Savings Bank
Nokomis Savings Bank, a full-service community bank, has approximately $27 million in total assets, $21 million in deposits and $11 million in loans. With one location serving the West Central Illinois community, Nokomis Savings Bank has been providing exceptional customer service and high-quality products for over 100 years. More information about Nokomis Savings Bank can be found at

Contact Information
Land of Lincoln Credit Union
Robert Ares President & Chief Executive Officer
Nokomis Savings Bank
Charles O'Malley
President & Chief Executive Officer

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Dare to be boring with your investments

Press Release: Bill Merrick 5.23.2023

Focus on the basics and manage for the uncertainty of outcomes.

If you do it right, investment portfolio management with an inverted yield curve will be perfectly boring, says Charley McQueen, president/CEO at McQueen Financial Advisors.

“It’s boring because we need to do the basics,” says McQueen, who addressed the 2023 CUNA Finance Council Conference Monday in Anaheim, Calif., with his colleague, Jim Craven, vice president and senior consultant.

“I think interest rates will start to come down in the next six to 12 months, so we’ll want to look for nonoption-based investments rather than mortgages or callable bonds,” McQueen says. “I want to look at fixed-term maturities and build a nice, boring ladder of securities three, four, or five years long. That way we’ll have constant maturities we’ll be able to reinvest in whatever market we’re in.”

He calls inverted yield curves—when long-term yields fall below short-term yields—“wonderful and painful because they usually tell us what's coming next.”

With an inverted yield curve, McQueen advises against investing in callable securities and mortgages.

“Nothing against them, but if you own mortgages in this environment and interest rates go up, the value of that investment goes down but the life of it extends,” he says. “I want my money back so I can reinvest at a higher level.”

He’s also not a fan of corporate bonds due to the prospects of a recession.

Good investment options in this environment include “really boring noncallable agency bonds, Treasury bonds, and municipal bonds,” McQueen says.

Regardless of what the future holds, it’s crucial to discuss scenarios with colleagues, even if you disagree. Craven, for example, believes the Federal Reserve will have to raise rates, while McQueen sees a rate cut coming.

“Who knows who’s right? It’s good to have dissenting opinions and to talk about them,” McQueen says. “It’s about managing for the uncertainty of outcomes, having a range of potential outcomes, and being prepared for them.”


McQueen Financial Advisors is proud to announce that we are offering Foundation & Non-Profit Investment Management services

Press Release 4.20.2023:

McQueen Financial Advisors
1239 Anderson Rd, Clawson, MI 48017
(248) 548-8400

The Foundation & Non-Profit Investment Management area of MFA provides foundations, non-profits, and charities with professional investment portfolio management. Our Foundation & Non-Profit Investment Management team is prepared to manage your portfolio to fit your unique needs.
As a fiduciary manager, your best interest is always first. We have no conflict of interest with in-house products, inventory that needs to be sold, underwriting deals, brokerage, lending, or anything that is not solely focused on your best interest.

We are utilizing our twenty-four-year history (and our current investment management of nearly $14 billion) and expertise to provide Foundation & Non-Profit Investment Management services. We become part of your organization and meet with your investment committee and/or your board of directors on a quarterly, semi-annual basis to ensure we are achieving your objectives.

The Foundation & Non-Profit Investment Management services include:

  • Guidance on governance and investment policy design
  • Spending policy methodology and analysis
  • Review spending and investment policy alignment
  • Board Education
  • Setting long-term targets via strategic asset allocation
  • Portfolio review and analysis, including goals and objectives, target return, asset allocation, portfolio construction, investment manager selection, rebalancing, performance reporting, implementation, and/or execution.

“I founded the firm on the premise that each and every entity deserves personal attention focused on their unique needs. Our focus will always be on the needs of our clients.” -Charley McQueen President & CEO

For further information please contact:
Matt Brege
(248) 548-8400

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Steps Shared to Address Loan Mispricing

Press Release: Ray Birch 5.24.2023

CLAWSON, Mich.—The mispricing of loans by credit unions, particularly auto loans, could lead to some CUs facing earnings struggles in the near future, according to one analyst who is also recommending steps to address the issue.

Charley McQueen, president and CEO of McQueen Financial Advisors, agreed with others who have suggested too many credit unions were guilty of keeping auto loan rates far too low for far too long, not recognizing amid the short-term boost in volume how there would be a price to pay in the longer-term.

McQueen added he believes decisions made by many CFOs, many of whom are younger and who have not during their careers experienced an extended period of rising rates, are affecting investments and liquidity.

As has reported, consumers today have the opportunity to grab some of the highest returns on their deposits that they’ve seen in 15 years. Top-yielding online savings account rates are now just north of 5%, the highest since 2008, and much higher than last year’s 0.8%.

“All institutions are paying much higher rates on deposits right now, it's just not smaller institutions, and it's because people are spending more money than they make, just to get by—to buy groceries and things. They don’t have the money lying around in deposit accounts like they used to,” said McQueen, who noted draw down of personal savings is forcing financial institutions that had enjoyed record-levels of low-cost core deposits—to begin to pay up to maintain those funds and attract new deposits.

There are also consumers who are nervous about bank failures and what levels of deposits are insured, McQueen said.

“So, we see people who are reducing their exposure little bit. But most of our institutions have actually seen deposits increase or be flat over the past three months,” said McQueen.

Where credit unions have also not done well has been in tightening the loan spigot when necessary, said McQueen.

“They're having lots and lots of loan growth. When you have loan growth that reduces your cash position. And when you have a little deposit runoff it reduces your cash position,” he said. “Liquidity is at a premium. Credit unions should not have been putting all these loans (in the past year) on their books.”

One Particular Issue

As other analysts have also told, McQueen believes a particular issue has been credit unions underpricing their auto loan rates even as the Federal Reserve aggressively raised rates.

“Credit unions mispriced loans, especially auto. They kept them too low and now they're dealing with that and they have to make balance sheet adjustments,” continued McQueen. “Your balance sheet is not marked to market. What that does is produce a tougher earnings position. I think the next thing we’re going to see is credit unions struggling with earnings.”

Those earnings struggles will be a challenge for many, but McQueen does not believe they will lead to any failures, although he suspects it will sway some CUs to consider mergers.

“I do think there are a number of institutions that didn't properly prepare for the situation we're in and they're going to have a very difficult time with earnings and their balance sheet,” he said. “There's long-term, good balance sheet management strategies. And a lot of people have not paid attention to them. It was, ‘Hey, I don't want to stay short with my investments because I'm not making any money. I'm going to go longer.’”

In doing so, McQueen asserted, those CU executives lived for the short term, and disregarded the longer-term impact to the balance sheet.

“They reached for a yield and invested longer,” he said. “Now these investments they may have to sell to drive liquidity are a little bit underwater and that hurts them. You either sell the investments and take the losses, which is no fun, or you borrow money.”

Competition Remains Fierce

And is if all that weren’t challenging enough, the heated fight for deposits isn’t cooling, McQueen said.

“We're seeing six-month to one-year CDs at 5% and money market rates at 3.7% to 4%,” pointed out McQueen. “And this is not a small institution problem. American Express is paying nearly 5% on their money market accounts. Everyone's paying these higher rates right now to attract deposits.”

McQueen reminded that moves by the Federal Reserve, with its quantitative tightening, is also having an effect.

“We're shrinking money supply, which is pulling money out of the system and people are spending more money because of inflation,” he explained. “The combination of the two makes it tough when you just work with primarily individuals.”

How Credit Unions Should Respond

What do CUs need to do?

“You always, every day, have to do the basics—the blocking and tackling,” McQueen advised. “What that involves is writing loans at appropriate rates. Don't stop lending money, but you have to control the loan growth. You need to focus on your core membership. Many credit unions are doing indirect lending and looking to get loans from other places. But what they don't realize is they're not getting deposits anywhere except from their members. You need to balance out the deposits you're getting with the loans you’re getting from that membership base. If you're making loans to your core membership base, life is simple and easy.

“But if you decide that you want to do indirect lending, buy loans from the marketplace, or do something different, you then need to realize that you need to borrow funds to fund these indirect loans.”

In McQueen’s own review of the broader market data and where credit unions stand, he sees pricing minimums most CUs should be observing.

“If I'm going to borrow money from the Federal Home Loan Bank, let's just call it 5%, I've got to start with 5% (for the CU’s loan pricing). Then I've got to factor in my expenses. I also need to put in money for loan losses and CECL. And then, on top of that is my return—the ROI I need to have. So, when doing indirect lending or buying loans today, you're very quickly into the sevens, if not 8%—the lowest yield you should be booking.”

The Generation Gap

It’s advice in which a generation gap may be apparent, he added.

“Our company is dealing with a couple people who have had some problems, helping them work through them, and they are younger CFOs,” explained McQueen. “What I'm seeing many times is the CFO may not have as much negotiating experience dealing with people that have different interests. A great example is a CFO who bought a bunch of long-term, fixed 30-year mortgages over the past year. It was because a broker was telling him it's a good idea. I think a lot of these younger CFOs do not have the skill set or the knowledge to ask the right questions—such as is this really a good idea? What happens if rates go up? They just listen to people who have different motivations.

“Let’s use a used car salesman as an example, and I am just pointing to how people often perceive used car salesmen,” he continued. “But the used car salesman only gets paid if you buy that car. He couldn’t care less about what the payment is, how it affects you, how it affects your credit score, what happens to you in your life. All he wants is you to buy that car. And a lot of times bond salesman are the same way—there's good ones in this world and bad ones.”


MFA has advised Arizona Federal Credit Union through the acquisition of Horizon Community Bank: 3.14.22

Press Release 3.14.2022:

McQueen Financial Advisors has advised Arizona Federal Credit Union through the acquisition of Horizon Community Bank.

Please click here to see more details.

Arizona Federal Credit Union has agreed to acquire the assets and assume the liabilities of Horizon Community Bank. The combined Company will have total assets of more than $3.3 billion; making it one of the largest credit unions in Arizona.

This transaction will mark McQueen’s 25th Credit Union – Bank Transaction; the most of any advisor in the United States.

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