KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (10/1/08)--Knoxville-based UT FCU broke ground Monday on its fifth branch amid all the fiscal turmoil and debate over the $700 billion rescue package for the U.S. financial system. Debbie Jones, CEO of UT FCU, was expecting Tennessee U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan (R-2nd District) to speak at the groundbreaking, but Duncan was busy casting his vote on the rescue package in Washington, D.C. (Knoxville News Sentinel Sept. 30). Although Jones said she believes the $161.2 million asset credit union’s branch will be a success, owing to months of business due diligence and market research, the shaky U.S. economy may cause UT FCU to delay future growth plans, she told the newspaper. Jones reassured the credit union’s 28,000 members that its business is healthy, and conservative financial practices have kept it away from subprime mortgage loans that have harmed other lenders. However, like many other CEOs of financial institutions nationwide, Jones is concerned about tighter credit conditions for credit unions and how they will affect lending. UT FCU is still lending but has had to tighten its standards, she told the paper. A lack of lending oversight led to bad loan decisions that have had broad effects nationwide and will take time to correct, Jones added.