A Message from Our President/CEO
It’s been a busy first quarter and it seems to have whizzed by in a flash, and Connex continues to lend to its members at a national record pace. For two years in a row now, Connex has been in the top 5% of credit unions nationally in terms of loan growth to its members. We have done such a great job that we need a lot more new member deposits to keep pace! You may have noticed that we have been running various CD specials, and they provide new and existing members with extremely competitive high-interest rates over various terms that can really boost your savings. Please take advantage of these specials as quickly as you see them announced. In addition, this first quarter of 2018 has been full of other events, initiatives, and programs that I’m excited to share with you.
Our Members Come First
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 really make a difference. As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, profits are returned to you, our members, in the form of improved services, lower rate loans, and higher deposit rates. Our Financial Advocates are here to help you find the best money-saving loan or highest dividend deposit product. We know we are delivering on these promises as our members have been extremely active in all areas of our offerings, including telling us where we are doing great and where we can improve.
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.
Part of our annual Net Promoter survey includes an opportunity for you to tell us what changes you would like us to consider. One of the top responses over the years was a desire by members to have access to more hours of teller availability. We listened, and I was pleased to announce this quarter that we increased 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 through our ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines), where you can perform almost all of the lobby teller transactions with a live teller by means of a video screen. 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 at our ITM. It’s fast and easy!
I’m also excited to inform you that construction on our new branch in Monroe, CT, is moving forward at a rapid pace. This branch will be the first in Fairfield County since we expanded our field of membership in late 2015. Our new full service branch will help us grow our footprint by offering new members the same high level of service that our current members have come to expect, while providing additional convenience to our many members that currently reside in Fairfield County. We are looking forward to a Grand Opening celebration early this summer. We hope many of you are able to join us there.
Records are Broken
Along with our partner WPLR, Connex continues to support The New Haven Diaper Bank through our sponsorship of the ShamRock & Roll 5k Road Race. Last year, through member support and an internal competition amongst our employees, we set a record by donating over 45,000 diapers to children in need. I am proud to announce that this year we shattered all previous records and donated over 83,000 diapers through fundraising and diaper donations from our members, employees, business partners, and friends. I am very proud of this amazing accomplishment and would like to extend my gratitude to all those who helped support this wonderful organization.
Our Coins-for-Change program supports local charities by donating the fees collected at our coin-cashing machines. For the first quarter of 2018, we provided more than $3,000 to four deserving organizations including New Opportunities, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for economically disadvantaged individuals, North Haven Historical Society which preserves and educates on the history of the town, Common Ground High School’s Environmental Education, which focuses on global and local issues, and IRIS that helps resettle refugees and other immigrants in the New Haven area.
Our highly recognized Financial Literacy workshops continue this year beginning with Tips on Selling Your Home, First-Time Home Buyers, and How to Create a Budget. These workshops are free to members and non-members and provide valuable information on a variety of topics. In 2018, we plan to add several more seminars targeting financial literacy. Visit our website for upcoming workshops and to register.
5th Year of ConneXfactor
I am proud to announce that our ConneXfactor financial fitness competition has begun its 5th year. ConneXfactor embodies our commitment to customer advocacy and improving the lives of our members...one member at a time.
Almost 100 members have applied for their chance to win $5,000 in prizes. Our rigorous selection process is almost complete and we soon will release the names of the five contestants who will be chosen to work closely with their Financial Coaches over the next six months to see who can improve their fiscal condition the most. Last year’s winner, Brittany Corey, recently addressed our entire Connex staff to talk about how this program had a meaningful and lasting impact on her and her family. I can assure you, her speech was an emotional and moving experience for our staff to hear. I find it incredibly gratifying to hear how our members succeed working with Connex and how our employees deliver on our mission.
What particularly excites me about ConneXfactor is that we can all learn something from each of the contestants, as you don’t have to be a participant to benefit from the ConneXfactor competition. You can follow the progress of the contestants on our blog at connexfactor.org as well as view helpful financial tips. You can also meet with one of our Financial Advocates located in each branch, who will work with you to understand your goals, identify your financial needs and provide solutions to improve your financial life.
Recognition & Awards
MemberXP awarded Connex Credit Union “Best of the Best” credit union in member experience for 2017. MemberXP administers member experience measurement and improvement programs for more than 100 credit unions in North America.
This prestigious award is given to an elite group of high-performing credit unions. This recognition was based on the combined criteria of our high Member Effort Score and our high Net Promoter Score, with only 7% of credit unions meeting these criteria nationally. Connex was awarded three specific member “Best of the Best” designations by providing our members with excellent Transaction, Lending, and New Account Opening experiences. You may recall having received an email survey from them, sent on our behalf, at some point over the past year. If you receive that survey, please take a minute or two to respond; your feedback is what helps us to improve and better meet your needs.
This year, the New Haven Register conducted their first annual “Best Of” poll. I am pleased to announce that Connex Credit Union placed first as the Best Credit Union in New Haven County by the readers of the New Haven Register.
Bauer Financial, the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm, once again 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. Connex has received this recognition annually since 1995.
Investing in Our Younger Members
We are continuing to invest in our younger members by offering $5,000 in scholarships to college-bound students. We’re awarding three scholarships – the $1,000 Nicolas G. Hackett Memorial Scholarship; the $2,000 John R. Edwards Community Involvement Scholarship; and the $2,000 Arthur B. Haesche Memorial Scholarship. These are awarded to deserving student members who can use the money toward tuition or other school-related expenses. While the deadline to apply for this year has just passed, I encourage you to look out for our announcements in the coming year if you or a member of your family can take advantage of this member exclusive program. I will keep you posted on the winners after their names are announced.
The 2018 Connex Annual Meeting will occur at the Best Western Plus in North Haven on Friday, April 27th at 11 a.m. This assembly allows us to highlight the successes of 2017 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.
As we close out the first quarter of 2018, it is evident already that 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 and we look forward to working with you on your path to financial success throughout the rest of 2018.
Connex Credit Union