I hope this early summer update finds you all well, as we finally begin to enjoy some warmer and sunnier days. We’ve had quite a few developments over the last few months and I’m proud to share two significant milestones without any delay: Connex has officially reached over $500 million in assets and almost 50,000 members during the second quarter of 2017. Reflecting on these achievements, I’m excited by how far our credit union has progressed during my tenure as President and CEO, and the bright future that lies ahead.
Throughout the past six months, Connex has solidified its position as one of the most successful credit unions in the State. While CT loan growth continues to be anemic, so far this year, we have made over $80 million in new loans to our members, in part funded by over $27 million in deposits from new and existing members of Connex as a result of our Money Market and CD promotions.
I’d like to take a moment to share some of the more notable other items that come to mind.
Recognition and Awards Validate Success
As our membership continues its steady growth and our net worth builds, I assure you that we have not lost sight of the core values our credit union was built upon more than 75 years ago. Despite Connecticut’s challenging economy, we remain committed to improving the lives of our members and it was an honor to receive the Best Bank Award from the North Haven Citizen for the 2nd time – besting financial giants like TD Bank, People’s United and Liberty Bank.
Additionally, Bauer Financial, the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm, designated Connex Credit Union as a Five Star “Superior” organization. This prestigious honor is reserved for financial institutions excelling in capital, asset quality, profitability, and other fiscal areas.
ConneXfactor Contestants Already Producing Results
We are rapidly approaching the halfway point of the fourth season of our highly regarded ConneXfactor financial fitness competition. After being paired with a Financial Advocate in early April, our five contestants - Deborah, Kayla, Thalia, Nina, and Brittany – embarked on a quest to completely restructure their financial lives. Their dedication has already produced tangible improvements, and some contestants have learned they may even exceed their original goals.
Visit our blog at ConneXfactor.com to follow each contestant and discover how you can apply these same principles and tips to experience success in your own financial life!
Best of luck to the contestants as we move toward our highly anticipated finale in October, where we will announce the winners and distribute $5,000 in prizes at a special ceremony.
Improve your Finances in a Flash!
If you have not already - make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for engaging and educational content. You don’t want to miss the Financial Flash, our unique web series providing the information necessary to help you take control of your fiscal situation. These brief videos discuss real-world financial issues that regularly challenge many of our members, including topics like “Managing Debt Consolidation” and “Determining the Right Time to Buy a Home”.
Also, don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as our social media accounts are the best way for us to remain connected with our members and provide important Connex news, updates and promotions.
At Connex, we are continually implementing the latest technology to ensure every transaction is simple, secure and convenient. 12 of our 14 ATMs have been fully upgraded and no longer require envelopes to deposit cash or checks! A select number of these new ATMs will also have the capability to function as an ITM in the future. An ITM works just like an ATM but has the additional ability to connect to a live teller – just like “Skype” or “FaceTime”. This remote live teller can assist you with complex transactions, help you with loans or answer any other questions you may have.
If you have not seen this ITM technology, we encourage you to check out our Meriden and Branford branches, which are actively using this ITM technology inside the branch. These advancements are just the first of many exciting opportunities in 2017 and we look forward to further improving your experience.
Financial Flash Returns
Our award winning YouTube series Connex Financial Flash was a hit in 2016 providing quick tips on common financial topics. The first Financial Flash of 2017 is available now and discusses the proper way to manage debt consolidation and avoid the traps that can accompany closing a loan. You can easily view this, or any of the other episodes, by visiting our YouTube channel. While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe and ensure you never miss a Financial Flash.
Also, be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as our social media accounts are the best way for us to remain connected with our members and provide important Connex news and updates.
Computer security is a topic everyone is talking about these days. We are always hearing on the news about countries being hacked and computer viruses spreading across the world. Diligence and awareness are the best tools we have as a credit union and are the best tools that you have as members. Remember, Connex will never ask for you online password or PIN via email or text message. Connex also utilizes a certificate on our website so you always know you are on the Connex website. When you navigate to https://www.connexcu.org, look for a padlock in the address bar (some browsers may turn the address green).
Here are some general tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls:
For more information, please visit the Connex Security Center. We keep this section updated with all the latest news and tips. The link to our Security Center is http://www.connexcu.org/home/member-info-resources/resources/security-center.
Promotions, Retirements and New Beginnings
In May, Vice President of Customer Advocacy Carl Casper was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Since joining Connex four years ago, Carl has capitalized on nearly three decades of financial industry experience to help promote the Connex values and expand our products and services. Carl is a strong advocate for credit unions and the impact they have within the financial services industry and our communities. Please join me in congratulating Carl on this well-deserved promotion!
We announced at our Annual Meeting, which was held on April 28 that Fred Heimann officially retired from his position as Chairman of the Board of Directors after twenty years in that role; Fred will continue to be an active member of our Board. We also congratulated Janice Bryden who was elected to the role of Chairperson, along with newly elected Vice-Chair Janet Hand. In addition, the Board welcomed two new members. Kim Andrews, CPA, was recently elected as a full Board member. Kim has over 25 years in accounting and finance experience, currently with United Technologies. Prior to that she was with AT&T, where she twice earned the prestigious President’s Circle Award as Associate Director of Finance. We are also pleased to have Greg MacLeod join the Board as an Associate Director. Greg is also a CPA, in practice for 14 years and employed by Guilmartin, DiPirio & Sokolowski in Middletown. Greg received his B.S. in Business Administration from Southern Connecticut State University and resides in Wallingford.
Once again, we thank the newly elected Directors for their willingness to take on these responsibilities on behalf of the entire membership, with a special thanks to Fred for his impressive dedication and service, and we look forward to continued success under Janice’s leadership.
Supporting the Community with ConnexCaresConnex is committed to improving the communities that embrace our credit union. Each quarter, we support local charitable organizations through our Coins-for-Change program as part of the ConnexCares philanthropic initiative. We collect and donate the fees from our coin-cashing machines, and during the second quarter of 2017, we contributed more than $6,000 to Branford Childhood Collaborative, New Haven Reads, North Haven Garden Club, and the North Haven Education Foundation. Thank you to everyone who donated! Coins-for-Change will be continuing during Quarter 3, and we encourage anyone who would like to participate to bring their spare change to the Guilford, Hamden, Meriden, or North Haven branch.
$5,000 in Scholarships for Local Students
During our Annual Meeting, we announced the three deserving winners of our yearly scholarships: Farmington High School Senior Mitchell Ives received $2,000 for the Arthur B. Haesche Memorial Scholarship; Durham resident, and Senior at Mother of Divine Grace School, Hope Mercugliano received $1,000 for the Nicolas G. Hackett Memorial Scholarship, and Wallingford resident, and Lyman Hall High School Senior, Megan Lane received $2,000 for the John R. Edwards Community Involvement Scholarship. Congratulations to all our winners! We all wish you the best of luck as you embark on this exciting phase of your lives!
As we approach the halfway point of 2017, it is evident we are on track for another successful year – and when we succeed, all of our members prosper. Thank you for your continued dedication to Connex. We are eager to spend the remainder of the year helping all members, old and new, achieve their financial dreams.
Connex Credit Union