A Message from Our President/CEO
As I was going through my draft of this letter one evening, I asked my 16 year old daughter what she thought, as I was interested in her perspective and that of a younger generation. Now she is fiercely bright and has a work ethic that rivals queens and kings of industry, so she was not shy to tell me that it sounded “boring”. She went on to tell me that she loves the idea of a credit union and that her generation discusses the concept of businesses or people that act as a “fiduciary” – someone acting in the best interests of another. While somewhat surprised by her use of the word “fiduciary”, I listened as she said that people join Connex because they want to be part of an organization that has a mission to help them succeed, and not just be a nameless customer. She talked about the fact that we do not have stockholders, are not here to make gobs of money, and that we are stewards for our members, and that was meaningful to her generation, particularly when they discussed finances. So I am not sure I could have said it much better, and scrapped my opening paragraph and used her words. So thanks to my daughter Mikayla!
As a local institution, headquartered right here in North Haven, Connecticut, we live and work among our members, our children go to school together, we go to the same places of worship, root for the same teams. Our decisions are made here, locally, where we understand the unique needs of the communities we serve. That is important to us and I believe that is important to you. It is how we have grown together for more than 77 years now, and I am proud to announce that our Connex family has grown to more than 50,000 members. This tremendous milestone comes on the heels of us surpassing $500M in assets earlier this year and solidifies our position as one of the largest and most successful credit unions in Connecticut.
As we steadily grow, I assure you that we will continue to improve your financial lives through the personalized service you’ve become accustomed too. I’d like to take a moment to build on some of Mikayla’s themes and share some other success stories from these past few months.
ConneXfactor Season 4 Wrapping Up
The fourth season of our extremely popular ConneXfactor competition is drawing to a close. This year’s participants include Kayla Peterson, Deborah Funaro, Brittany Corey, and Nina Wallace. These contestants and their Connex Financial Advocates have dedicated months working together in establishing and planning how to achieve their short term financial goals, and many of them have already exceeded their original expectations. We will award nearly $5,000 in prizes and recognize their accomplishments during a special ceremony on October 25th. I always find the ConneXfactor Finale one of the most special, proud and emotional events that I look forward to every year.
The ConneXfactor program is truly an ideal representation of the core values of Customer Advocacy that Connex is built on, and I’m eager to view the final results. We encourage everyone to continue following along at connexfactor.com for progress updates, financial tips and more. You can also replicate the ConneXfactor experience by visiting one of our branches and speaking with a financial advocate.
ConnexCares Continues to Thrive
As a not-for-profit entity, our ConnexCares philanthropic initiative is tremendously important to us and I am happy to report that we have continued to support our surrounding community in recent months through a variety of donations.
Each quarter, we help local charities by distributing the fees collected at our coin-cashing machines with a popular program entitled Coins-for-Change. As part of this initiative, we were able to donate nearly $3,500 to four deserving organizations: Lea’s Foundation, Rain of Hope, Girls Lead, Inc., and CT Family Support Network. We invite you to help us top this number next quarter by bringing your spare change to our Guilford, Hamden, Meriden, or North Haven locations. Please contact us if you believe your non-profit entity would qualify for inclusion for this program.
Connex once again took part in National Miracle Jeans Day. Our employees donated $5 for the chance to wear jeans to work on September 13 and contributed $25 or more, to receive a commemorative t-shirt. We collected and matched donations up to $1,000 and proudly announce we reached that limit – donating a total of $2,000 to Connecticut Children’s Medical Hospital in Hartford.
Connex was recently honored at the Diaper Bank’s Annual Meeting with a Community Impact Award for our continued support through our employee-led diaper drives, which resulted in donations of over 100,000 diapers in the past six years.
On October 7, a group of Connex volunteers will don hard hats and hammers and donate time and a check for $1,000 to Habitat for Humanity of New Haven. We are always grateful for the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of families in the communities we serve.
Our sustained commitment to promoting financial literacy also continued through our award-winning workshop series this quarter. Each session provides information on a skill that is fundamental to fiscal success. We offered a variety of workshops such as “Online Security”, “How to Create a Budget” and “Car Buying Tips”. We held more seminars in Fairfield County than ever before – a trend we continue to build upon.
Visit the “Member Info & Resources” section of our website to register for one of our upcoming workshops.
Our Net Promoter Survey – Member Satisfaction
Customer Advocacy is ensuring that we meet the needs of all of our members to improve their financial lives. Each year we distribute a survey to our membership that determines our “Net Promoter Score”. This informs us of how we are doing at achieving our mission and meeting your needs. This metric is an important factor in measuring our overall success and is one of our significant corporate objectives.
If you received a survey, please take a few moments to complete it; your feedback is invaluable. We work diligently to ensure we are best serving our membership and this survey is vital to making us aware of how you feel your credit union is doing in meeting your expectations. The survey period is ending shortly and I look forward to sharing the results with you when they become available.
Upgrades and Extended Hours
We are continually implementing the latest technology to ensure every transaction is simple, secure and convenient. For example, earlier this year, we simplified the deposit process at our ATM’s by removing the necessity of envelopes. I am also excited to announce a new ATM enhancement - in addition to the ability to conduct a traditional ATM transaction, these machines can now be utilized to do a teller-assisted transaction as part of our Interactive Teller Machine (ITM) network. Those of you that currently use our Branford or Meriden offices are likely familiar with this functionality.
With an ITM, you can speak with a live teller using technology similar to “Skype” or “FaceTime”. This interactive teller can assist you with almost all of the teller transactions you can complete in our lobby. For additional details, check out the “How to Operate an Interactive Teller Machine” video posted as part of our Financial Flash series on YouTube. Initially, this dual mode will be available during our typical lobby hours; however, in the near future, we expect to extend the amount of hours you can visit with one of these live tellers, adding more convenience for our members.
Added Member Benefits
As a Connex member you have always come to expect numerous benefits such as low fees, low loan rates and higher deposit rates. Our Financial Advocates are here to help you find the best money-saving loan or highest dividend deposit product. If you haven’t noticed recently, we have been running various Money Market and CD specials, and they provide new and existing members with extremely competitive high-interest rates and long terms that can really boost your savings.
Our Member Rewards™ Gold or Platinum Debit Cards allow members to enjoy benefits such as cash back, emergency roadside assistance, savings on prescriptions, and so much more! With a Connex Visa or American Express credit card, you can earn a variety of bonuses such as travel rewards or cash back on everyday purchases. Just speak with one of our Financial Advocates to discover which card is right for you.
Connex Investment and Retirement Services (CIRS)
The prospect of retirement is exhilarating, yet can also be a bit intimidating. You’re never too young or too old to prepare for the next phase of life. We invite you to take advantage of the Connex Investment and Retirement Services (CIRS) at our flagship branch in North Haven. With nearly three decades of financial service experience, Retirement Specialist William DeBille can help you manage key aspects such as investing, planning, transferring plans and much more. Call 203-603-5735 for additional information.
Collections Manager Remembered
As a last note, I’d be hard pressed not to take a moment and share with you that we lost a member of the Connex family this past summer. Tom Foster, our Collections Manager for the past 7 years, passed away unexpectedly in July at the young age of 56. I can recall many members over the years that he went out of his way to help, and members that he rooted for. He was a pleasure to have around at Connex, always sharing his stories and his knowledge, and he has been missed each day since his passing.
With that, thank you once again to the more than 50,000 members who choose to embrace the benefits of Connex Credit Union over a bank or other financial institution. We recognize that you always have a choice, and we want to always earn your trust and provide you with the best possible service you can find. Please help us continue to grow, and that can be as simple as telling your friends at your next get together! We look forward to helping all of you identify and meet your financial goals for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.
Connex Credit Union