Looking back on 2016, Nutmeg has made some exceptional strides both as an organization and within the industry. We have made some great advances in this past year to help better serve you, our valued membership.
A Look Back on 2016
The beginning half of the year proved the strength of our team through all branches and departments. We took an all-hands-on-deck approach to launch the new look and feel of our website. I am also proud to say how each employee stepped up to help prepare for the biggest Core Conversion in Nutmeg and the industry’s history. During the 4th of July weekend, we moved all of our member data into a new system. This required many other software and technology updates to streamline our information. We made it easier for our members to access their information and use our services. The Nutmeg team did an amazing job ensuring our membership was well-informed of these changes. They also did great work testing the backend operations for a flawless execution. There were many late nights and long weekends and I am thankful for a great staff!
Throughout the summer, we continued on our forward-thinking track. We re-evaluated our branches and technology for maximum member experience. We reviewed our products and services, technology and branch locations.
As the Price Chopper grocery store chain began its initial stages of rebranding itself, we ended our relationship and lease in our Newington in-store location at the end of October. Many members who frequently utilized this location found an easy transition at other convenient branches in Rocky Hill and Cromwell. Other members also found an easy transition utilizing our many e-Banking services. Our online and mobile app portals are available 24/7 for members to do everything you would in a branch. This includes applying and paying for loans, opening accounts and day-to-day account transactions. With our partnership in the SUM and Co-Op Networks, our members in this area, and all throughout the country, are able to use over 40,000 fee-free ATMs. While we consistently continue to consider new branch locations, we are confident in the ease of your ability to utilize our e-services at your convenience.
Technology is becoming prevalent in our industry, but we know the importance of traditional branches as well. We have worked diligently to assess our approach to your relationship with your closest branch. At the end of December, we officially opened our newest location in West Hartford (973A Farmington Avenue), right in the heart of the town center. This branch offers familiar friendly faces ready to show you and our other members how to utilize a self-service location. Our patient staff is ready show you how to use our tablets for all your branch needs. They will be there to answer questions, assist with the technology and offer training on how to do your banking from anywhere! In the future, we hope to bring these self-service stations to each of our branches for all members, regardless of location.
As our relationship with technology becomes more dependent, it is important for us to offer you as many services as possible. While we continued to offer Apple Pay for our members with applicable Apple devices, we also began our partnership with Samsung and Android Pay. All members with devices supporting this technology can safely store their Nutmeg debit and credit information on their phones. Payments can be made at registers safely and securely with the touch of their phone. These services minimize risk and help prevent additional threats of fraud or theft of your cards and personal information. Nutmeg is one of the first credit unions in the country to participate in these payment methods and it is important to us to continue to stay on top of technological and industry trends. As we move into 2017, you will see continued improvement in technology and your banking needs.
A Look Ahead to 2017
This coming year is on track to bring some very exciting changes. As you may remember, in 2015, our conversion to a state charter opened the door to expand our membership to New Haven County. As of December 31, 2016, we officially merged with Housatonic Teachers Financial Credit Union. We increased our membership by almost 2,000 new members. We also increased our membership parameters to also include the towns of Shelton, Stratford and Bridgeport. The Housatonic Teachers Financial Credit Union will operate as a division of Nutmeg and will be open for members who are local to this area.
We also plan to open a new location in New Haven County. By spring, we will have a new location inside the ShopRite in Orange. We look forward to the partnership with this grocery chain and hope to open more locations in various ShopRites throughout the state.
Among our big projects of expanding our footprint, we will also be making a big change with our Nutmeg Credit Cards. Before the end of the year, we will shift away from our partnership with VISA and re-issue all credit cards under MasterCard. As we get closer to the date of re-issuing your card, we will send more information about the minimal impact you will see is this transition.
As the year progresses, we will also continue to make a greater presence in the community taking part in multiple family and cultural events throughout the state. We look forward to bringing our Mobile Branch out on the road again. We want to be where our members are and take pride in being a part of your daily life. If you have suggestions for events to attend, please let us know. We are always looking for more ways to participate in local areas.
We are excited to have another successful year behind us as we look forward to the growth and prosperity of 2017. As always, we thank you for your allowing us to help with all of your financial needs. Your membership is an essential part of the success of the credit union. On behalf of the Board of Directors and Nutmeg employees, we thank you and value your continued membership with us.
President and CEO