2017: Mission Accomplished
By: Joseph R. Gervais, President/CEO
Published: January 23rd, 2018
joeg at midcoastfcu dot me
As I reflect back on the past year at the Credit Union, my assessment begins and ends with measuring if we were successful in our mission of empowering member and community success through financial education, technology and service excellence. As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, what is purposely omitted from that mission is a focus on maximizing profits. Surely, modest profits are necessary to ensure the safety and soundness of the Credit Union, however our goal is to return value to all of our members and that value takes on many forms.
Most members equate value in terms of interest rates; higher dividend rates paid on shares and lower interest rates charged on loans. Over the course of 2017, we finally began to see upward movement in interest rates on a national level. I am pleased to report that the Credit Union continued to offer above market rates on shares and introduced new share certificate specials that far exceed the Credit Union’s local competition. In addition, our Peak Money Market rates are now higher in response to the recent Federal Reserve Bank action. In lending, we were successful in having only modest increases in our loan rates. In addition, we implemented "everyday incentives" of cash rebates, 60-day first payment requirements and rate match guarantees to encourage our members to move their auto loans to Midcoast.
Value was also provided via investments in infrastructure. Our crowning achievement for 2017 was the opening of our new branch facility in our founding community of Bath. The new facility provides our members with a far superior service experience with expanded parking and amenities such as a drive-up ATM, expanded safety deposit box services and an automated coin counting machine. In addition to the Bath project, we installed a new ATM at our Brunswick location that is equipped with anti-skimming devices for our members’ protectiom.
Technology is a key element of our mission and played a critical role in our service delivery in 2017. A year-long eServices Challenge rewarded our members each month for utilizing eStatements, Remote Check Deposit and our free and unlimited Billpay service. Our mobile application was enhanced to allow our members to apply for auto loans, personal loans and credit cards from their mobile device. We capped off the year by installing our first debit card instant issue machine in Bath, which will quickly issue cards for new accounts or replace a lost or stolen card.
As important a role that technology plays in our service delivery, it will always be a complement to personalized service. Our expanded Member Contact Center in Thomaston responded to over 50,000 incoming calls in 2017 and I am pleased to report that our team handled over 95% of those calls directly. No call queues, no automated attendant, just a helpful, friendly voice ready to serve you.
Concern for our community remains a core value of the Credit Union and 2017 represented another year of active support and engagement. We combated food insecurity in partnership with Maine Credit Union’s Campaign to End Hunger. We expanded our commitment to financial literacy with participation in Financial Fitness Fairs and sponsorship of Banzai, a youth financial education program taught in local schools. We supported longstanding partnerships with the United Way of Mid-Coast Maine and developed new relationships with Freeport Community Services. Lastly, because we believe volunteerism is personal, we encouraged our employees to support their own passion in community involvement and they responded by donating over 362 hours of their time.
While the title of this article declares mission accomplished, I mean that only in regards to a successful year of service to our members. I consider our mission a never ending pursuit and one that we are eager to tackle in 2018. Thank you for your continued support of the Credit Union, as we seek to enhance our value to you, our members.