I am thrilled to share with you that in this first quarter of 2017 your credit union has reached an incredible milestone of $500 million in assets. I can remember just a few years ago we were at $300M, envisioning a day when we might grow to this next level. With committed members like you recognizing the value we bring every day, this cooperative partnership continues to cement Connex as an industry leader in CT. While our continued growth in the future is a goal that will help us continue to more efficiently deliver the products, services and technology that you have come to expect, there were other distinguished moments that occurred during the first quarter that I wanted to share with you.
Earlier this year, we continued our annual support of the New Haven Diaper Bank through our sponsorship of the Shamrock & Roll 5K Road Race. After setting the record in 2016 for the largest single donation the Diaper Bank has ever received with more than 16,300 diapers, we once again hosted a diaper collection at all seven branches. I am proud to announce that due to tremendous community support and an internal competition between our employees, we shattered this record with an astounding contribution of more than 45,000 diapers for children in need. This number toppled our initial goal of 20,000 and eventually climbed past 50,000 when combined with the additional donations made on race day. I could not be more proud of this effort and would like to extend my gratitude to all those who helped support this fantastic organization.
Each quarter, we also support local charities through our Coins-for-Change initiative by donating the fees collected at our coin-cashing machines. For the first quarter, we provided a combined total of more than $3,000 to four deserving organizations. By now, we will have chosen the recipients of our annual scholarship program, where we award scholarships totaling $5,000 to members attending college; those winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting in April.
We continued our commitment to spreading financial literacy with the return of our highly-regarded workshops, including a special seminar for the members of Solar Youth, a non-profit organization empowering youth from New Haven’s low-income neighborhoods to achieve lifelong success.
ConneXfactor Season 4 Underway
After an immensely successful three years, the fourth season of our ConneXfactor financial fitness competition is underway. This contest is a representation of our commitment to customer advocacy and has helped countless competitors restructure their financial lives.
More than 125 members applied for their chance to win $5,000 in prizes. After a difficult selection process, we have narrowed the candidates down to five participants and paired them with a Financial Advocate who will serve as a coach. Beginning April 3, these contestants will dedicate six months competing to see who can improve their fiscal situation the most.
Although only five members actively participate in ConneXfactor, everyone can follow the competition and discover how to improve their financial lives by following our blog at ConneXfactor.com
Recognition and Awards
Connex was recently named the Top Lender in the Connecticut real estate market for 2016, and will be listed as such in the upcoming issue of The Commercial Record.
In February, Connex was honored with four Service Industry Advertising Awards, which honor achievements in the service industry, in our case, financial services. A group of industry specialists judged our submissions based on creativity, execution, impact, technology, application and innovation. Connex received “Gold” in the Newspaper Series, TV Series and Social Media categories, as well as “Merit” in the Integrated Campaign division.
In existence for more than 40 years, New England Financial Marketing Association (NEFMA) is one of the country’s largest and most respected trade associations with a diverse membership of over 300 financial marketing executives from banks, credit unions, and financial service companies. The NEFMA Conference and Awards Show was held on March 16. Several hundred financial institutions and advertising agencies throughout New England submitted their best work across 18 categories. Connex was honored with 3 awards during the evening’s ceremony. We were awarded First Place for our TV Commercials in the TV category, Second Place for our website design in the Website category, and “Best in Class” award representing “innovation and excellence in marketing” encompassing the totality of the various submissions by an institution for 2016. Winners are showcased in the April 17th issue of Banker & Tradesman and the May issue of The Commercial Record. We are truly honored to be recognized as a top achiever on a national level.
Lastly, Connex was honored to receive the Bronze award for our TV Commercials this past year in the TV & Cable - Local Commercials category. Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards is one of the most sought-after awards by industry leaders from large international firms to local production companies and ad agencies. It is the premier award honoring the best in TV and Cable, Digital and Streaming, and Non-Broadcast Productions. Each year, the Telly Awards receives over 13,000 entries for 10 categories from all 50 states and 5 continents. Entries are awarded as Silver or Bronze.
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.
The 2017 Connex Annual Meeting will occur at the Best Western in North Haven on Friday, April 28th at 11 a.m. This assembly allows us to highlight the successes of 2016 and discuss how they will be leveraged as we plan for the future. We will officially record the newly elected Directors as part of the business meeting, and we will then announce the students receiving our annual scholarships. If you’d like to attend, you can register for this event on our website.
Changes to the Board of Directors
Fred Heimann will be retiring as Chairman of the Board of Directors in April, a position he has held since 1997. Throughout the past two decades, Fred has helped our credit union develop into a full service financial institution and industry leader. During his tenure, we’ve experienced two name changes, a conversion to a state charter, multiple branch additions and significant member growth. On behalf of the entire Connex family, I’d like to take a moment to thank Fred for his tremendous dedication and service, and his constant focus on improving the financial products and services we offer to the entire membership.
While Fred will remain a member of the board, our current Vice President, Janice Bryden, has been selected as incoming Chairman. We are excited to have Janice assume this important position on our volunteer board and are confident she will lead Connex as it continues to flourish well into the future.
Our credit union has already experienced much success throughout the first quarter of 2017 and we are enthusiastic about another prosperous year. Thank you for your continued dedication to Connex and we look forward to helping you achieve your financial goals now and into the future.
Connex Credit Union