With the New Year upon us, it’s time again to look back on the credit union’s accomplishments in 2019. I am happy to report that our strategy over the past year has brought continued success to Nutmeg and positioned us for even more growth in 2020. I encourage you to read below about all the exciting things we have accomplished and what we have planned for the future.
An Evolving Branch Footprint
As I’m sure you know, we strive to innovate our brick-and-mortar locations to provide the best banking experience for our members. One significant change for us in this area was our Rocky Hill branch location move and redesign last April. We consolidated our Rocky Hill and Cromwell locations by opening a new location at 520 Cromwell Avenue with more self-service options for our members.
In 2018 we also began a partnership with the CT Department of Motor Vehicles. Since then, we have opened two shared-space locations in Milford and North Haven and have had the exciting opportunity to reach new market groups with our services. The custom technology used at the new locations has made these our most convenient branches and our members have expressed their positive feedback to us.
I’d also like to take a moment to talk about our current Hartford location. As you all know, we regularly research our branch presence and evaluate our locations based on accessibility and convenience. Unfortunately, upcoming renovations to the building of the Hartford location will limit our ability to have an office. As a result, we will be permanently closing this location at end of business on February 3, 2020. The Nutmeg ATM at this location will stay to prevent any disruption for the building employees who use our services.
In 2020 and beyond, we will continue to evaluate our branch locations and explore new retail partnerships. We will be sure to keep everyone informed as we continue to evolve and grow throughout the state.
Technology Upgrades and Partnerships
If you have read my blog or any of my President’s messages before, you have probably heard me say many times how important technology is to all of us at Nutmeg. It is central to our strategy as a financial institution and, like previous years, was a major focus for us in 2019. This past year brought many ease-of-use updates and improvements to features of our online banking platforms, like our new member and mortgage applications. These ongoing improvements will continue to make your banking experience easier than ever as we enter the New Year.
Another significant technology development in 2019 was our partnership with Mortgage Markets CUSO, a credit union service organization that uses innovative technology to seamlessly offer mortgage products. With their resources, we are now providing an online mortgage application process that is easier and faster than ever! Pursuing this partnership was just another step in the right direction for us as a credit union dedicated to providing banking services with advanced technology. I am looking forward to adding more upgrades to our mortgage program in the year to come.
Because of our heavy focus on technology, 2020 is expected to be another exciting year for us as we continue developing our services. In addition to making ongoing improvements, we also plan on applying our custom technology to our online banking platform in ways you have never seen before. You can expect to see significant enhancements across many of our electronic services throughout the year, starting with an updated design and new features for our business banking platform in the next few months. Later in the year, we will also update the look and feel of our consumer banking platform to make your experience as fast and efficient as possible. These exciting transitions will transform the way you do your banking with Nutmeg!
Staying Engaged with the Community
As with previous years, we continued our commitment to the community and maintained a very strong public presence in 2019. Over the past year, we attended over one hundred events in communities across the state with over 1,200 hours of staff participation. You may have seen us at the Connecticut Walks to End Alzheimer’s as their statewide sponsor, or at the Holiday Light Fantasia held by Channel 3 Kids Camp in Hartford. I am so proud of the work we have done so far and look forward to participating at more events like these with new community partners. In 2020, I am sure you will see us at many public events throughout the year as we continue our mission of helping charities and community organizations reach their goals. I am looking forward to making a difference and getting to know all the members of our communities!
Our work with the community also extends to underserved individuals and families. You have probably heard by now that Nutmeg is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which means we are uniquely positioned to help underserved families with our products and services. Having this opportunity inspired us to develop our Fresh Start Services Program in 2019. With auto loan, checking and credit card options, the program was designed specifically for people who may be struggling financially and is something we are all very proud of. If you or someone you know could take advantage of any of these credit-building services, I encourage you to contact us today or visit us at one of our branch locations.
The Fresh Start Program has also brought us some exciting new partnerships. Last November, we partnered with the City of Bridgeport and the Small and Minority Business Enterprise to introduce low-income families to our Working Wheels Car Ownership Program, which offers affordable auto loan options and financial education information. Working Wheels has been very successful so far and we are thrilled to now have a presence in the Bridgeport area. With partnerships like this, I am confident that we will continue to make a positive impact on families across the state.
2019 was another great example of how far we have come as a credit union. Our advancements over the past year have prepared us for significant growth in 2020 and beyond. As always, thank you for your continued support of Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union.
President and CEO