To Our Members,
Thank you for your continued membership and business at Access Community Credit Union! 2019 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 rising rate environment that began in 2015 gave way to 3 rate cuts during the late summer and early fall. This was in contrast, to the late 2018 outlook that called for possibly two additional rate hikes in 2019. For deposit holders, this is certainly disappointing news. For borrowers however, the trend of very low rate borrowing continues onward. For the local market, these rate cuts didn’t result immediately in dramatic changes to deposit rates. The credit union’s dividend payout on deposits, increased 60% from 2018 (as repricing continues), with deposits growing by 4.9% to $109,648,000 at year end. While the Central Bank is poised to hold rates steady during 2020, only time will tell with the ongoing trade tensions, and the implications of the coronavirus on the global economy. If the Fed does hold rates steady, it will be a historical anomaly for a U.S. presidential election year (during the last 10 presidential election years the Central Bank has acted in one direction or another –source: Bloomberg Web Nov. 12, 2019).
Several milestones highlight the past year. The credit union converted our credit card processing to Payment Systems for Credit Unions (PSCU). PSCU is owned and governed by over 1,500 credit unions nationwide. During 2019, the credit union introduced several different reward credit card options and is slated to unveil a business reward card in Spring 2020. Along with those reward cards, the credit union’s online account-opening and online loan applications were revamped to allow for 5-minute applications via PC, smartphone or tablet devices. Mobile Deposit Capture was also launched in January 2020- allowing you to deposit checks with your smart phone camera. In spring of 2019, we rolled out business accounts and are slated to start lending to small businesses in Spring of 2020. Along with the accounts, the credit union has partnered with Harbor Touch Merchant Services. If you have a small business and are utilizing merchant services with another provider, we can likely save you some substantial money. All while providing local personalized service and quick response times. 2019 also saw the credit union introduce a new extended warranty product available for purchase on new and used automobiles. The credit union’s auto warranty program has protected many families in the past (including mine). We believe this new product is even better!
The credit union also took major steps in late 2019 to begin moving the entire mortgage lending program in-house. This is very exciting, because it allows the credit union to control the underwriting and servicing process. What this means for our members, is a much better experience when it comes to the stress of home buying or refinancing. Access also recently received lending approval by FHA (Federal Housing Administration/HUD). This will greatly expand our ability to help members, especially first-time buyers, by reducing the amounts required out of pocket to be approved. These achievements represent a few of the ways your credit union board of directors and team continues to seek new and better ways to Help You Build Financial Security.
The Access Community First Program began during 2019. Under this program, the credit union returned over $25,000 dollars and many volunteer hours to our community. Some of the dollars went to local elementary schools, donation of over 1,000 pairs of shoes to children, delivering of meals, and numerous volunteer activities. Another job of our community first committee is to help folks in our community when life and tragedy strike on an individual and confidential basis. The committee is formed of non-senior management team members elected by their peers to evaluate situations and help when possible. If you know of someone in need contact Vaden Carthel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our financial condition also reflects solid growth, sound oversight by the board and good stewardship by the leadership team. The Credit Union’s 2019 Annual Report will be made available on our website very soon, but here listed below is a financial snapshot from 2019:
- -Total Assets reached $128.5 million at year end- a $5.7 million increase or 4.7% increase for the year
- -Member Loans grew by 8.2%- to $104.9 million outstanding at year end; an increase of $8.0 million for the year; we made over $57.3 million in new loans during the year
- -Member deposits are now at $109.7 million; deposits grew by $5.2 million; for an increase of 4.9%
- -Our Net Worth remains high at 13.9%; it is approximately 2.29% higher than our peer credit unions industry wide.
- I’m extremely proud to report to you on several other honors we learned of in 2019. In September, Access Community Credit Union was ranked No. 3 in the Best Credit Unions to Work For 2019 and among credit unions with assets under $200 million by the Credit Union Journal. We received this designation in 2018 as well. In March, we were notified that we we’re among the Top 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas 2019 (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). We upheld that Bauer 5 Star rating in 2019 as well. We believe these indicators, point to how strong our cooperative continues to grow and also the potential for a new decade and beyond. None of this would be possible without the trust and partnership our members have allowed for over 66 years. On behalf of our board and team, thank you!
May you and your family be blessed in 2020!
President / CEO