Annual Meeting President’s Report
I’m very excited to report that 2017 was another busy year for the credit union! We worked hard to complete many key projects that continue to advance our strategy.
2017 by the Numbers
In summary, we experienced better than projected growth in many areas for the credit union. Our net income was $2.4 million in spite of continued economic challenges in Connecticut. We welcomed many new members this year, including over 1,500 new members from our merger with Housatonic Teachers Financial Credit Union. However, we did an aggressive cleanup of accounts which resulted in negative overall member growth. Our loan portfolio grew by 8.07% to over $331.8 million while deposits grew to over $329.1 million. In addition, 2017 saw our assets grow to over $427.6 million, representing a 6.9% increase. We remain one of the strongest credit unions in the state of Connecticut with our capital ratio standing at 14.71%, signifying a financial strength that is more than double the regulatory requirement of no less than 7%.
A Successful Merger In 2017 we completed the operational merger with Housatonic Teachers Financial Credit Union. As a result of the merger, we were also granted an expansion to our Field of Membership to include the following Fairfield County towns/cities – Shelton, Stratford and Bridgeport. Financially, the merger resulted in the significant addition of $19.3 million in assets, bringing our total assets to over $427.6 million. We also recognized $6.1 million of capital from the merger, further strengthening our superior financial position.
Looking Back at 2017
Our focus for 2017 was to continue to improve all of the tools our members use to bank with us. We made significant improvements to our electronic services. Most members conduct their banking electronically, so we know the importance of making these services superior to the competition. We added new and easier ways to pay your loans from Nutmeg accounts and from other financial institutions. We also made a lot of changes to our e-Banking and Mobile App in order to constantly make it faster and easier to use. We upgraded all our debit and credit cards. All cards were reissued with EMV Chip technology. This technology adds a layer of encryption to your transactions which helps reduce fraud and risk to your personal information. This same encryption can also be used on a mobile device, through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. When using these services, retailers only receive transaction-specific codes to process your payment and you never have to share your card information with store staff. We also released our Nutmeg Card Manager App that allows you to have complete control over your cards. You can turn them on and off, create spending limits, set up alerts and more.
We also had significant growth in our branch footprint. In the spring, we opened our first location in New Haven County inside the Orange ShopRite on Bull Hill Lane. We have seen tremendous growth in this community and look forward to continued growth in southern Connecticut. In December, we opened our first location in Fairfield County, located inside the Stratford ShopRite. This location offers the same technology solutions as our other new locations. We are also now conveniently located near a majority of our newest members from Housatonic Teachers Financial Credit Union. We continue to see promising growth as we build relationships in this community.
A Look at 2018
This year we will continue to develop all our technology and make it easier to bank with us. A major focus in this area is developing our branch self-serve technology. Starting with our Milford branch opening this spring, you will see a whole different approach to branch banking. With our new, one-of-a-kind technology, you will be able to quickly do all your banking in a branch with our express-service equipment. You can deposit or withdrawal cash or checks, get teller checks, pay all your loans, and even get a new debit or credit card right at our new banking stations. We want your banking experience to be as fast and easy as possible, and this new technology will revolutionize your branch visits.
We will also be making other ongoing technology improvements this year. For instance, we will be adding the ability to pay all your loans by phone through our automated phone service. Another area we will be making significant technology strides is with our business accounts. Our business members will be able to do much more online. Some of these improvements will even allow for employees to have limited user access to help manage the business. We are committed to helping local businesses thrive and you can expect to see more innovations for our business members throughout the year. Another area of focus will be on our credit card service. There will be many exceptional promotional offers to take advantage of throughout the year. We recently introduced a new credit card for businesses. This card has many great features and is significantly more affordable than competitor credit cards.
We will continue to make significant strides in reaching new markets and underserved communities. We have received a CDFI designation (Community Development Financial Institution). This designation includes a financial grant from the government that helps us develop relationships with more members from lower income households and underserved Hispanic residents. By developing relationships with these new communities we will be able to provide low-rate borrowing solutions and other services that will help local families get on their feet. Checking accounts, car loans and mortgages are essential to a family’s success, and we will now be able to help more people than ever.
Another innovative development that will happen this year will take place in our Milford office. We have partnered with the CT Department of Motor Vehicles to offer driver’s license renewals right inside our location. No need to wait in line at the DMV; all Connecticut drivers can use this new “DMV Express” location for quick and easy license renewals. We are very excited to partner with the DMV and will look to provide this convenient service in other locations in the future. You can expect to hear more about this throughout the year.
I would like to thank the employees and our Board of Directors for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank you and all our members for your continued support and trust in us.
President and CEO