To Our Members,
Thank you for your continued membership and business at Access Community Credit Union! 2018 witnessed another year of growth and many changes that will allow us to better serve you. I’m grateful for the guidance and leadership of our volunteer board of directors. I’m also thankful for the leadership of our dedicated team and how hard they work getting the “little things” right, for you our members.
The continued buzz in the financial sector is that of rising rates. 2018 witnessed four increases to the federal funds rate, marking the 9th overall increase since 2015, from the unprecedented zero rate pattern spanning 2008 to 2015. 2019 looks to be another year of gradual rate hikes, as the Central bank has reduced the forecast from three rate increases down to only two. For deposit holders, this is certainly a welcomed trend. For borrowers however, especially those who’ve only borrowed in the last decade, rising rates may soon bring quite the sticker shock. No longer are auto rates in the 2% to 3% ranges, and most mortgages now hover between 4.5% and the low 5% range. For financial institutions, rising rates represent a business cycle that hasn’t been experienced since 2003 – 2007. These cycles require financial institutions to increase deposit rates immediately in conjunction with the local market (usually in response to increases of the fed funds rate). This certainly has an immediate impact to every institution’s bottom line profitability, as it takes time for loans to catch up and reprice at higher rates. This is one reason institutions should be committed to maintaining strong net worth (capital). Your credit union continues to do just that. At 14.1% net worth, we are about 3% higher than most of our peer institutions.
Several milestones highlight the past year. The capstone project of 2018 was rolling out our new Corillian Online Banking experience. The switch on October 23rd was about as seamless as they get, and all of the credit is due to our team beginning preparations over 18 months ago. I believe you’ll find the new system does just about everything you can get with the largest mega-banks, who are investing billions each year into technology. This system allows Access the parity our members have expressed in the past, and the platform will allow us to enhance our app and add other emerging conveniences in coming years. Apple and Google pay are also now available for your debit card digital wallet. On the loan side, rising rates haven’t stifled growth just yet. Our mortgage program continued to grow along with moderate demand in auto lending. 2018 also saw us launch our Access to Freedom debt consolidation program. Many members are caught in a vicious cycle with high interest credit card debt, and this program has already been shown to help. Between September and December of last year 35 loans were funded. In most cases, the credit union was able to provide members 30% to 50% interest savings and also get the loan on a closed ended term to help end the cycle. Our team has also worked diligently in 2018 to begin offering small business accounts. This rollout will be in February 2019 as the final components of our online business banking suite are completed. Small business checking, savings, money market and certificates will be available. The online banking suite offers full ACH management and also PopMoney for Small Biz allowing you to create/manage and send invoices and payments electronically.
Our financial condition also reflects solid growth, sound oversight by the board and good stewardship by the leadership team. The Credit Union’s 2018 Annual Report will be made available on our website very soon, but here listed below is a financial snapshot from 2018:
- Total Assets reached $122.8 million at year end- a $4.7 million increase or 3.9% increase for the year
- Member Loans grew by 3.8%- to $96.9 million outstanding at year end; an increase of $3.6 million for the year; we made over $44.5 million in new loans during the year
- Member deposits are now at $104.5 million; deposits grew by $4.4 million; growth in member checking accounts, share accounts, CDs, money markets and IRA’s combined for an overall increase of 4.3%
- Our Net Worth remains high at 14.1%; it is approximately 2.79% higher than our peer credit unions industry wide
- I’m extremely proud to report to you on several other honors we learned of in 2018. In September, Access Community Credit Union was ranked No. 10 overall in the Best Credit Unions to Work For 2018 and No. 3 among credit unions with assets under $200 million by the Credit Union Journal. In November, we were notified that we we’re among the Top 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas 2019. The rankings will be disclosed in the March edition of Texas Monthly Magazine. In January 2018, Bauer Financial Inc. notified us we’d made the Best of Bauer Credit Unions for earning Bauer’s highest (5 star) rating for 110 consecutive quarters (27.5 years). Depositaccounts.com also named Access Community Credit Union to it’s Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in the nation for 2018 (ranked #110 of 200). We believe these point to how strong our cooperative continues to grow and also the potential for 2019 and beyond. None of this would be possible without the trust and partnership our members have allowed for over 65 years. On behalf of our board and team, thank you!
May you and your family be blessed in 2019!
President / CEO