2018 was a very successful year for Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union. We worked hard to achieve our goal of delivering exceptional service across all our service touchpoints. Over the past year, we gained significant momentum as a credit union and made great strides in efficiency and automation on all fronts.
2018 By the Numbers
Despite the economic challenges of 2018 within our state, we experienced steady growth with net income slightly above $2 million. We also maintained our high capital ratio at 14.36 percent, which is far above the NCUA requirement of seven percent. With our growing physical presence, we gained a groundbreaking partnership with the state Department of Motor Vehicles and over six hundred new memberships in southern Connecticut. This is an exciting number to see coming from a new market and we expect it to increase over time. We also saw a 12.72 percent increase in our loan portfolio to a total of $374 million. Our total assets similarly increased by about 5.8 percent to a total of $453 million, reinforcing our position as one of the strongest credit unions in the state of Connecticut and nationally.
Tech Advancements in 2018
Our 2018 strategy was defined by technology advancements aimed at producing an entirely self-service banking experience. In recent years we have recognized the importance of technology in our industry and have strived to develop an edge over the competition. This came primarily in the form of state-of-the-art Nutmeg kiosks outfitted with self-service technology. Members can now use these to conduct a variety of transactions at their own convenience with just the touch of a finger. This modern approach to banking has been exciting to create and has been very well received by our members. As we continue to place these kiosks at our branch locations, we are confident that the in-branch banking experience will become even easier and more efficient.
Among the most significant events of 2018 was our partnership with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, which resulted in the opening of two shared-space locations in Milford and North Haven. In addition to featuring our convenient self-service kiosks, these branches include DMV Express services that have greatly improved the license renewal process. Since the introduction of these services in June of 2018, we have served thousands of CT drivers with an average wait time of less than ten minutes. We also implemented a feature that allows license renewal appointments to be scheduled online and up to two months in advance. This was a huge step for Nutmeg and we’re thrilled to be working with the DMV to provide such a convenient service to CT residents.
This past year, we also made significant improvements to our e-Banking and Mobile App. With both, members may now opt in or out of our Privilege Pay (Overdraft Coverage) service, request a Skip-a-Payment for loans and even open additional savings accounts from the comfort of home. Like our kiosks, these enhancements have made our self-service banking experience very easy and convenient.
Many of our technology advancements were done by DaLand Solutions, a well-established technology consulting firm that provides services to many credit unions across the country. We previously worked with DaLand on our 2016 core data system conversion and upgrades to all our electronic services. More recently, they have been crucial in the ongoing development of our self-service kiosks and improvements to our online banking experience.
During the summer of 2018, we acquired DaLand and created a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO). CUSOs are common among credit unions and help provide advanced services to members and staff. The DaLand CUSO is dedicated to making all our services even more convenient and easy to use, regardless of delivery channel. This new partnership is a valuable next step to ensuring our continued success as a technology-focused financial institution. The CUSO will also continue to provide these services to other credit unions.
Our 2018 Work in the Community
Being involved and giving back to the community will always be among our key initiatives at Nutmeg. As a financial institution, we are empowered to do everything we can to improve the financial wellness of families across the state.
As it relates to our strategy, financial inclusion continued to be a main focus in 2018. We introduced several new savings and loan products to help serve emerging markets. We also placed a specific focus on the Hispanic demographic, which is one of the fastest-growing and most financially underserved markets in the country. Last summer, we began accepting Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) in addition to Social Security Numbers. This allows us to better serve families with undocumented immigrants. We also continued to participate in local events and establish new partnerships. In 2018, we worked with key organizations such as the Institute for Hispanic Families, Catholic Charities, and Mercy House. We are excited to see where these relationships take us in the future.
Additionally, we opened our Rocky Hill High School branch in the spring of 2018. This branch is essential for providing financial education and helping students gain hands-on work experience. While we may have worked with many schools across the state over the years, we have never actually placed a branch within a school. As a first for us, this location allows students and teachers to open accounts, learn more about banking and prepare them for smart decision making in the future.
Our Plans for 2019
Much like last year, 2019 will be a year focused on technology and innovation. You can expect to see significant enhancements to our e-Banking and Mobile Banking App as well as e-Pay, our electronic bill payment service. These changes will occur throughout the year and make the experience easier and more streamlined. Additionally, opening new accounts and applying for loans online will also become faster for both existing members and new members.
We will also continue our extensive work as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). CDFIs are dedicated to serving low-income families by providing access to financial products and services. A major development that already began this year is the Working Wheels Car Ownership Program, which provides an affordable auto loan option specifically for struggling families. Reliable transportation is widely recognized as a key factor in maintaining a secure financial foothold. We are excited that the Working Wheels program will have such a positive impact on families across the state.
Our physical presence will also continue to evolve in 2019. This spring, our corporate offices will be consolidating under one roof at 500 Enterprise Drive in Rocky Hill. With this transition, the Nutmeg staff will be able to collaborate more closely and provide the best service possible to our members. We will additionally be consolidating our Cromwell Walmart branch with our location in Rocky Hill. The Cromwell Walmart branch will be closing this spring and Rocky Hill will have extended hours to accommodate members who take advantage of Cromwell’s late-night hours. The Rocky Hill branch will also be moving across the street from 521 Cromwell Avenue to 520 Cromwell Avenue, where our current corporate office is located. We anticipate this being a smooth process as these locations undergo these changes.
We would like to thank the Nutmeg staff and Board of Directors for their hard work and dedication. We would also like to thank all of our members for their continued support as we continue to evolve our credit union. Thank you for choosing us to help you and your family with all your financial needs.