The National Consumer Cooperative Bank, which opened three years ago to make loans to non-profit food, housing and health care co-ops, is cutting its regional operations in half and restructuring its lending controls to save money and answer recent criticism from bank auditors and examiners.
Mitchell A. Rofsky, the bank's executive vice president and acting head, said in a recent interview that the bank is closing three of its eight regional offices, downgrading two others and cutting its regional staff in half in an effort to save $1 million.
Offices in New York, Minneapolis and Oakland will remain fully staffed. Those in Boston, Detroit and Seattle will close by the end of the month and the Atlanta and Dallas offices will be scaled back. The regional staff will be cut from 50 to 24, Rofsky said.
In an announcement yesterday he also said that all lending activity would be consolidated under a new senior vice president for lending, "assuring uniform loan policies and procedures and offering greater control of decisions." The regional offices will report directly to the new lending chief, "shortening the chain to obtain a final decision on a loan and improving customer service," the statement said.
The bank, which was financed with more than $200 million in tax money, was the subject of a critical examination last fall by the Farm Credit Administration and faces oversight hearings by the House Banking Committee next month. Michael Dutkiewicz, a former farm credit system official, is the acting senior vice president for lending, a bank spokesman said.
Rofsky told employes about the changes in an Apr. 7 letter, saying the regional cutbacks were necessary because Congress gave the bank a mandate to operate nationally without "sufficient resources" to do so.
The Reagan administration tried to kill the bank in 1981. It was saved under a compromise that turned it into a private institution without government support at the beginning of 1982.