After 9 Years, Larry Biernacki Leaves Bigger Arkansas Federal Credit Union

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Jun. 30, 2014 12:00 am  

During Biernacki’s tenure, AFCU’s loan-to-deposit ratio — how much of members’ money has been loaned back out to other members — has increased from 77 percent to just over 100 percent.

And while credit unions, especially the small ones in Arkansas, have traditionally stuck with retail consumer lending, AFCU has dipped “a little bitty toe in the water” of commercial lending, Biernacki said, including some loans in the $2 million to $3 million range.

New regulatory burdens have run up the fixed costs of commercial bank loans, Biernacki said, so banks have become less interested in smaller commercial loans. That demand has started to find its way to the credit union, he said.

At this point, Biernacki recommends “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful” by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter.

Branching Out

When Biernacki arrived in 2005, AFCU had five offices. Today it has 15 stretching from Searcy to the newest one at Rogers and has purchased two more locations from Simmons First National Bank: one at Salem Road and Dave Ward Drive in Conway and one on Highway 71 in Springdale.

The Conway office, formerly a branch of Metropolitan National Bank that was acquired by Simmons last fall, will open as an AFCU branch in the fourth quarter of this year. The Springdale branch, one that Simmons closed while digesting the Metropolitan acquisition, will likely open in the first half of 2015.

In his final months in the job, Biernacki has remained busy improving the branch network. The Hot Springs branch office has been relocated to 3948 Central Ave. just south of the Highway 70/270 bypass, the west Little Rock office at 1221 S. Shackleford Road has been remodeled, and the Cabot office at 100 S. Rockwood Drive is about to get a makeover as well.

And AFCU purchased a building across the street from its headquarters office at 2424 Marshall Road.

In Retirement

Biernacki’s long-planned retirement will be split between homes in Texas and Cabot, and it will be a real retirement. “If I was going to continue working, why would I leave this place?” he asked.

Instead, he plans to increase his volunteer work in the suburbs that have embraced him.



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