To Our Members,
Thank you for your membership and business at Access Community Credit Union. The pandemic and related events of 2020 proved to be some of the most difficult in generations. Throughout the trials and heartbreaking losses, our community has repeatedly chosen to overcome. We are especially grateful for those in healthcare that have and continue to care for our friends, family and neighbors. I’m thankful for the leadership of our dedicated team and how they responded to the continually changing circumstances of the pandemic with focus on serving members while caring for themselves and their families.
In March of 2020, our team along with the rest of the world dramatically pivoted in how we do business. The credit union closed lobbies to ‘appointments only’ and separated team members into several teams along with many staff working remotely in order to attempt to preserve long term business continuity. Aided by technology, we were able to serve the majority of members very well via phones, online channels and by person-to-person appointment as a last resort. All lobbies re-opened with distancing measures and masks on June 5th and remained that way until fall. During the fall we were forced to close several branch lobbies to drive-up only but kept the main office and mortgage center open. The credit union began offering a COVID-19 loan forbearance program in April to help members impacted by loss of earnings or jobs. This program was widely used in the spring and early summer, but I’m pleased to report that the vast majority of members who initially utilized this have since returned to making normally scheduled payments on their loans. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) slashed the target fed funds rate by 150 basis points in March as a response to the impending economic impact of the virus. This dramatic rate change spurred a mortgage refinance and purchase boom during the latter half of the year.
I’m proud to report that your credit union was able to achieve several milestones during 2020 while navigating the pandemic. The credit union originated $92 million in total loans, of that amount around $39 million came from the mortgage lending program. The credit union took major steps in 2019 to begin moving the entire mortgage lending program in-house. This process of internal underwriting and servicing was widely expanded upon during 2020. We also began loaning money to small businesses in 2020 and ended the year with around $3.2 million in total business and 1-4 family investment property loans. Both the in-house mortgage and small business programs represent long term commitments to our growing membership and community. Access has invested substantial time and energy in retaining experienced mortgage and business lenders. We’ve been blessed by the teams that are working hard each day to grow these programs. The credit union also acquired property at 6020 I-40 West and opened our Mortgage Center in October. Another substantial achievement was the way our teller/cash team and service center handled the large influx of drive-up lines and phone calls stemming from reduced lobby traffic. Prior to the pandemic we received an average of 11,000 phone calls per month. Those numbers reached a high point of nearly 19,000 per month during the Fall season. Many of these calls were questions regarding how to use products like remote check deposit and we are grateful for your patience as we worked in this new normal. Our teller/cash teams always found a way to keep our drive-ups running smoothly with very limited staff and we are grateful for their toughness during a crazy season. Helping members achieve financial security is our top priority and there was never a greater need than what we experienced last year.
The Access Community First Program began during 2019. Under this program, the credit union returned over $55,000 dollars to our community during 2020. Some of the dollars went towards things like providing meals to our local healthcare providers. 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 remained solid during 2020, a reflection of sound oversight by the board and good stewardship by the leadership team. The Credit Union’s 2020 Annual Report will be made available on our website very soon, but here listed below is a financial snapshot from 2020:
- Total Assets reached $145.7 million at year end – a $17.2 million increase or 13.3% increase for the year
- Member Loans grew by 13.94% – to $119.5 million outstanding at year end; a net increase of $14.6 million for the year; we made over $92 million in new loans during the year
- Member deposits are now at $117.4 million; deposits grew by $7.8 million; for an increase of 7.1%
- Our Net Worth remains high at 12.9%; it is approximately 2.25% higher than our peer credit unions industry wide
I’m extremely proud to report to you on several other honors we learned of in 2020. In September, Access Community Credit Union was ranked in the Best Credit Unions to Work For 2020 for the third consecutive year by the Credit Union Journal. 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 and 2020 as well. We believe these indicators point to how strong our cooperative continues to grow and also the potential for the next decade and beyond. None of this would be possible without the trust and partnership our members have provided for over 67 years. On behalf of our board and team, thank you!
May you and your family be blessed in 2021!
President / CEO