Annual Message to our Members
As a not-for profit financial cooperative, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union (Nutmeg) is owned by our members. We were founded in 1936 on the concept of people helping people and efforts to deliver on this philosophy also extend to the communities where our members live and work.
Like every organization, the turbulence of 2020 and 2021 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the way we worked and interacted with our community. We moved quickly to protect our employees and members while remaining open and available. We took all the safeguards recommended by the public health agencies and safety standards were exceeded for the health and well-being of members and teammates. Our sincere thanks to all of our Nutmeg front line employees for the tremendous service they continue to provide to our members during these challenging times. We truly value them all.
Focus was given to the digital banking experience at Nutmeg in particular with our branch and DMV Express appointment scheduling offering. Our partnerships with AAA and DMV, while significant contributors to our forward momentum, are being evaluated for further improvement and alignment to the organization’s mission and strategy. As you read further, you’ll learn how we are re-imagining and reassessing our infrastructure, our culture, our utilization of data, and our way of doing business to ensure that each member experience is a positive one.
2021 Financial Results
It’s very gratifying to share with you that Nutmeg remains very healthy financially. The solid decisions in 2020 to carefully control expenses while strategically investing during our transformation yielded favorable results in 2021. Nutmeg reported net income of $4.16M, above our projected goal. One of the most important measurements of the credit union’s strength is our capital ratio. A solid capital ratio in 2020 carried over and grew to 13.91% which exceeds the threshold of 7% set by National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). A strong capital ratio ensures we can continue to invest and support growth and also serves as protection against unforeseen or unusual events, such as the impacts and economic effects of a global pandemic which could result in losses. We expect our capital position to remain healthy in 2022 which will help us navigate through future challenges.
Our loan portfolio increased to $369.6M, nearly 3% higher than the previous year. A healthy expansion of approximately $11M in our real estate and commercial loan business helped offset a slight reduction in auto loans over the same time. Total shares grew by $15M year-over-year or about 4%. Many members benefited from the federal Child Tax Credit payments, which was, in part, reflected in an increase in savings and money market account deposits. Last but certainly not least, our total assets grew by $13M or 2.6% to $515.9M demonstrating solid sustainable growth.
Despite a turbulent year for many, Nutmeg is still positioned as one of the strongest credit unions in Connecticut.
As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Nutmeg was proud once again to be the recipient of a $1.8M RRP (Rapid Response Program) government grant. With our new mission, we are uniquely positioned to provide low-income communities with much needed financial support and protection against predatory lenders. Among our priorities will be to expand on our Working Wheels program, which provides reliable and affordable transportation to those that would not normally qualify.
We are inspired by having supported our members through a difficult year by providing “low” to “no fee” refinancing on home mortgages. This allowed our members greater access to the advantages of a low rate environment. We also worked hard to deliver in other ways by waiving fees for members, such as late fees, as well as providing greater flexibility on loan payments for those who needed it.
2021 also brought new support to our members in Fairfield County with the opening of a new DMV Express co-branded location in Norwalk. From Stamford to Wilton, members are taking advantage of the banking experience and wait-free DMV services. Nutmeg continued to pay attention to new ways of making it easier to connect with us. We launched “Live chat” on the Nutmeg website. With just one click, our members can connect with Nutmeg member experience specialists. Our ability to “meet you where you are” with this simple and additional method of contact is an example of how we are leveraging your input to inform products and services you find useful.
A New Mission
Like all of you, our Nutmeg team has spent the last two years reflecting on the important questions of who we are, what matters most to us and to our members, and where we are headed. As a credit union, we recognize the need to expand financial services to all communities in need. We are committed to becoming a more equitable, diverse and inclusive cooperative both internally and externally. During our own self-discovery process we crafted a values statement expressing our shared beliefs that serves as a framework for our decision making in a post-COVID-19 world.
“We believe prosperity for all people is possible through meaningful social and economic relationships and ensuring inclusive and equitable access to resources”. Our mission is “to create multi-generational prosperity throughout the Connecticut community through education, collaboration, and the support of local commerce.”
In other words, our goal is to establish wealth in families that transcends from grandparents to grandchildren, to create a legacy of economic security that passes from one generation to the next. By supporting programs and non-profits that help provide equitable access to financial tools and resources, educational workforce opportunities and promote justice, we will be operating in direct alignment with our mission. Our goal is to rise together and to support each other in dismantling systems of inequity.
We, here at Nutmeg, have a renewed sense of purpose and are laser focused on operationalizing our new mission to better serve our members, partners, and colleagues. We are inspired, motivated, and determined to build thoughtful products and policies to build wealth in our communities.
What’s in Store for 2022?
Our digital transformation will carry over throughout 2022 with a new website designed to better serve the needs of our members and site visitors, plus a revamping of our credit card and auto loan application experience. Members will be able to go from a loan or credit card request to funding more quickly and efficiently. We will also be conducting a brand assessment in anticipation of placing our purpose and mission at the core of everything we do and say.
In 2022, we are focusing our attention on more financially inclusive products and services for our members. In addition, we plan to eliminate non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees and overhaul of our Privilege Pay program to ensure those with the greatest needs are able to get the appropriate assistance. We believe that the removal of NSF fees and the overhaul of our Privilege Pay program will have a positive impact on our member’s finances and assist those that may have had a temporary financial setback as so many communities and members have experienced over the past two years.
We are excited to begin the next phase of our journey to ensure Nutmeg continues to remain a relevant and stronger financial institution focused on supporting current and future generations. We continue to appreciate the trust, confidence and support you show us as we evolve with a renewed sense of purpose and mission as we take on 2022 together.
We are committed to a simple and yet inspiring idea: prosperity for all is possible and will make us more powerful as individuals and as a community.
President & CEO
Dr. Luis Ramos
Chairman, Board of Directors