A Message from Our President/CEO
As 2017 comes to a close, I would like to wish each of you a Happy New Year. I hope that you had an enjoyable and memorable holiday season with friends, family and loved ones. The new year not only means turning the page on the calendar, but a time to reflect and an opportunity to start anew. Many will make New Year’s resolutions and, if you are planning to make a resolution, I encourage you to add financial improvement to yours and allow Connex to help you reach your financial goals.
Financial Strength and Stability
As I think about the past year, 2017 was monumental for Connex Credit Union. The overall health and continued growth of Connex is stronger than ever. In 2017, we surpassed 50,000 members and grew to approximately $565 million in assets. We welcomed more than 4,000 new members throughout the areas we serve, and our Net Worth ratio still remains above 10.50%, which means Connex is still significantly above the regulatory definition of “Well-Capitalized”. This speaks volumes about the strength, vitality, and future of Connex as a strong financial institution.
As members, you should feel confident that your financial institution is routinely examined by the State Department of Banking, the NCUA, and an external independent audit firm, Whittlesey & Hadley. The results were overwhelmingly positive and we continue to receive strong ratings, which validates the overall health of Connex as a financial institution.
Connex is also proud to announce it has been designated a Five-Star “Superior” organization by Bauer Financial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm. This award is reserved for financial institutions that excel in capital, asset quality, profitability and other fiscal areas.
Putting Members First: Advocacy
Our members are the backbone of Connex, and the reason we exist. As part of our mission, “Improving the lives of our members… One member at a time”, we focus on personally working with each member to better understand their financial goals and offer attainable solutions that make a difference. Throughout the year, we apply this philosophy through various programs and services to better serve our members.
One of the ways in which we demonstrate this commitment is through ConneXfactor, our annual financial fitness contest. Working alongside a Connex financial advocate, each participant improves their financial knowledge during the contest by setting up a budget, reviewing their expenses, and finding ways in which to achieve their financial goals. I continue to be astounded by the incredible commitment and hard work each member puts into the competition. In 2017, the grand prize winner was Brittany Corey who worked to reduce her debt by more than $5,000, pay off her car loan, open college savings accounts for her daughters and still exceeded her savings deposit goal. Other winners included Nina Wallace, first place, Kayla Peterson, second place, and Deborah Funaro, merit. I congratulate all of the participants for a job well done. And there’s more to come—we will be hosting ConneXfactor in 2018 and celebrating our 5th year anniversary of this program! We will soon begin accepting applications, so please check our website for more information in the coming weeks.
Last quarter, I mentioned to you that I would share the results of our annual Member Satisfaction Survey. The needs of the membership heavily influence the areas we can invest in with our limited resources, so it’s important that we ask you how we are doing, and where we might improve. We annually conduct a Net Promoter Survey that measures the response to one fundamental question: “Would you recommend Connex Credit Union to a family member or friend?” This allows our membership to provide direct feedback and suggestions on how Connex can improve. We are so honored and excited to share that our Net Promoter rating is 70%, which is significantly above the credit union industry average of 60%. This rating is stellar in comparison to the retail banking industry average of 35%. So thank you for your input!
As part of our survey, we continually look for ways to improve our services to our members. In mid-2016, we started exploring another approach of trying to measure the member experience utilizing a newer methodology referred to as Member Effort Score. Member Effort Score provides more immediate feedback from members on transactions nearer to the point they occurred (for example, the account opening or the loan process.) The goal is to see if we are meeting members’ expectations when it is fresh in your mind, and to solicit input on how we might improve that experience for all our members. If you receive an email asking about your recent member experience, I encourage you to respond and answer truthfully so we know where we are meeting your needs or help identify areas that we may be able to improve upon.
And to show that we are listening and based on your feedback from the surveys that we have heard over the years, I am pleased to announce we will be increasing teller availability from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Monday through Friday) and 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays at our Branford, Hamden, Meriden, North Haven and Orange branches. We are now able to offer these conveniences due to some recent upgrades to our ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines), where you can perform almost all of the teller transactions that can be completed in our lobby. These transactions include deposits, withdrawals, transfers, loan payments and most shared branching transactions. If our lobby is busy, you can simply get out of line and visit a live teller with our ITM. It’s fast and easy!
Another comment that we hear often is that you want more branches. So I’m also excited to announce that we will be opening a new full service branch in Monroe CT in 2018. When we expanded our membership to Fairfield County in 2015, we contemplated having a new physical branch in that county to provide our newest members additional conveniences and services in the neighborhoods that you work and live in. I look forward to sharing more detail about this in the coming months. We look forward to seeing you and serving your needs at our new Monroe branch!
Serving Our Communities: ConnexCares
Connex has a proud tradition and long history of giving back to our surrounding communities. In 2017 we helped raise more than $25,000 for the Connecticut Food Bank, Diaper Bank, Habitat for Humanity, annual scholarships, Hurricane Relief funds and many other important causes.
Last quarter, we donated almost $4,000 through our Coins-for-Change program to the Dudley Farm, Woman I Am, Inc., Fellowship Place, and the Meriden Soup Kitchen. This is one of the easiest ways for our members to help Connex give back. Simply bring in your spare change and convert it into cash at one of our coin-counting machines. We donate 100% of the fees collected to local nonprofit organizations. Let us know if you have a cause that you want us to consider.
Recently, our annual Stuff-A-Bus partnership with KC 101 helped feed thousands of families for Thanksgiving. Connex donated 25 turkeys and made a $1,000 in-kind donation to support the effort. Earlier in the year, I was also extremely proud that we broke records at the ShamRock and Roll Race that supports The Diaper Bank. Through your support, in 2017 we donated almost 45,000 diapers to families and babies in need – way to go! In addition to those contributions, we also volunteered staff time and monetary support to worthy organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Connecticut Children’s Medical Hospital, and many more. We thank our members and employees who contributed to this achievement.
Awards and New Year Wishes
Providing superior service to over 50,000 members requires a tremendous amount of effort from our devoted employees. We are always humbled and thrilled to receive recognition from outside organizations for our dedication and achievements.
Being recognized by the Credit Union League of Connecticut is truly an honor. In 2017, Connex received the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award. This award is given to a credit union for its practical application of the credit union philosophy of “people-helping-people”. I am proud to say that our “Financial Flash Series” videos received this distinctive recognition. This series of brief videos provide sound financial advice, quick tips and ways members can take control of their fiscal lives. Visit our website to view our entire suite of Financial Flash videos.
I am very proud to say that for the second year in a row, Connex won Best Credit Union by the readers of the North Haven Citizen and first runner up for Best Credit Union by the readers of the New Haven Advocate.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your continued membership with Connex Credit Union. I wish you and your loved ones a very prosperous and Happy New Year. I look forward to working with you in 2018 and helping you achieve your financial goals.
Connex Credit Union