Corporate Info

December 2016

Dear Members,

Happy New Year! I hope each of you had a memorable and joyous holiday season. Frank ManciniAs most of us typically do, we reflect on the past year and we envision what the New Year will bring. Looking back, 2016 was an important year in the evolution of Connex Credit Union. You are a member of one of the strongest credit unions in the state, with now over 48,000 members and approaching $500M in assets, and that is only a brief synopsis of where Connex is today.

Our committed employees have worked tirelessly to ensure that we constantly provide the products and services you need, the latest technologies to deliver them to you, while continuing our philanthropic initiatives in the communities we serve, and without losing sight of our core Customer Advocacy values. While the final numbers aren’t in just yet, I believe Connex will rank in the top 5% nationally amongst credit unions in loan growth to its members, growing at an unprecedented 28% rate in 2016.

Connex has experienced some other important milestones this past year and further cemented our credit union as one of the best in Connecticut, and, dare I say, the nation. I’d like to take this time to share a few of those highlights with you.

Financial Strength and Stability

Connex finished the year with approximately $490M in assets, while adding more than 3,000 net new members, which included over 700 who joined the credit union after we expanded into Fairfield County last December. We expect to earn over $2M in net income in 2016 and maintain our Net Worth ratio above 11.4%, significantly above the regulatory definition of “well capitalized” and better than our peers at both a regional and national level.

As members, you should feel confident that your financial institution is routinely examined by the State Department of Banking and NCUA, as well as by an external audit firm engaged by the Supervisory Committee. Both sets of audits stated strong confidence in the financial strength and management of Connex. This is even more meaningful given the backdrop of Connecticut’s economy, where Connecticut was ranked as one of the lowest states in terms of loan growth and return on assets amongst our nationwide credit union peers.

Member Satisfaction Results

Last quarter, I mentioned to you that we were sending out the annual Member Satisfaction Surveys, and that I would share the results of those surveys with you in this quarterly update. It is so important that we ask you how we are doing, and where we might improve, as the needs of the collective membership heavily influence the areas we can focus our limited resources.

While there are a series of questions, and opportunities to add comments and suggestions, the Net Promoter score measures the response to one fundamental question: “Would you recommend Connex Credit Union to a family member or friend?” We were honored to see that our efforts have not gone unnoticed and our score has increased from 70.64% in 2015 to 72.31%, ranking us as a “Best in Class” financial institution nationally.

I am not sure how much higher that score can realistically improve, though we continue to look for ways to do just that. In mid-2016, we started looking at an alternate process of trying to measure the member experience utilizing a metric known as Member Effort Score, looking for more immediate feedback from members on some larger transactions they specifically conducted (for example, the account opening process, or the loan closing process). The goal is to see if there are ways that members can help us identify if their experience met their expectations, and how to better that experience for all members in the future. So if you see these individual surveys come to you in 2017, please take a few moments to help us improve the experience for all of our members. And if you feel we are doing a great job, our folks will certainly be pleased to take the compliment.

Thank you to everyone who completed this survey in 2016, providing us your positive feedback, and for supporting Connex Credit Union. I promise you that we will continue developing innovative ways to advance our Credit Union and better support your financial journey.

Award-Winning Achievements

Providing superior service for more than 48,000 members requires a tremendous amount of effort from our devoted employees. We are always incredibly pleased to receive recognition from outside organizations for our dedication and achievements.

In addition to being named “Best Bank” by the North Haven Citizen, Connex Credit Union also received a “Best Of” award from the New Haven Advocate for the eighth consecutive year. Our ConnexNation E-Newsletter, which featured helpful tips and topics encouraging our millennial members to cultivate strong financial habits, earned first place at the New England Financial Marketing Association’s “Best in Marketing Awards”.

Additionally, our community outreach programs, financial literacy seminars and youth financial education programs allowed Connex to win all three service awards in our peer group from the Credit Union League of Connecticut for 2016: the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award, recognizing our efforts to improve the lives of non-members through community outreach programs; the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award, recognizing our efforts to improve members’ lives through non-personal finance education programs; and the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award, recognizing our efforts to teach personal finance skills to members and non-members 18 and younger. ConnexNation, our digital newsletter, targets young adults and promotes engagement by utilizing pop culture with videos, helpful blog articles, fun trivia, and prize-winning quizzes while integrating segments of financial literacy. We were honored and delighted to receive these accolades from the community and financial services industry.

ConneXfactor Season 3 Winner Announced

As I mentioned last quarter, we were just finishing up Season 3 of the ConneXfactor financial fitness competition, and on October 12th the contest concluded with a special ceremony at our Hamden branch to honor the achievements of each participant. Marilisa Anania of West Haven took home the Grand Prize of $3,000 by developing a budget that allowed her to tackle her debt while simultaneously cultivating a savings program that exceeded her original expectations by a substantial amount. Additional monetary prizes were awarded to Jennifer Johnson, Ruth Carruth, Christine Cohen, and Natalya Carmona-Bryant.

Notwithstanding the event finale, the true strength of ConneXfactor comes from its ability to provide contestants with the tools and skills necessary to restructure their financial futures. We offer this service to all of our members and encourage you to visit with us to see how we can help you gain this knowledge. Congratulations to all of the contestants and we look forward to continuing ConneXfactor in 2017.

Connex Gives Back

Our philanthropic program ConnexCares is an essential part of our mission. We take great pride in our ability to improve the lives of our members and the communities that have generously embraced our credit union.
 
Our Coins-for-Change program, which donates all fees collected at our coin-cashing machines to local charities, experienced another incredibly prosperous year. Thanks to strong support from both our members and the community, we exceeded $12,000 in contributions to deserving organizations in 2016. In addition to those contributions, we also volunteered staff time combined with monetary support to worthy organizations like Stuff-A-Bus, Habitat for Humanity and Connecticut Children’s Medical Hospital as a part of Miracle Jeans Day; Connex made more than $16,000 in additional charitable donations in 2016. Furthermore, we provided 16,348 diapers to the New Haven Diaper Bank as part of our sponsorship of ShamRock and Roll – I was told this was the single largest donation the Diaper Bank had ever received. We thank our members and employees who contributed to this achievement.
 
Throughout the year, we also conducted a number of free financial literacy seminars for both members and non-members. These highly-regarded workshops covered such topics as “How to Improve Your Credit Score,” “First Time Home Buyers,” “Buying a Car,” “Online Security,” and some workshops even included special guests from the FBI. There were many others offered, and due to the success of these programs, we plan to continue them in 2017. Make sure to follow Connex on social media to ensure you don’t miss the next opportunity to improve your financial knowledge.
 
One of our larger events in 2016 was co-organizing the 2016 Financial Reality Fair at Hamden High School. More than 500 teenagers from across the state gathered to partake in this budgeting challenge. They received a virtual salary and credit card and were instructed to visit various booths “selling” items the average adult would need such as groceries, furniture, and cell phones. At the completion of the event, each student met with a Financial Advocate to analyze the fiscal impact of their purchases and discuss how to develop a stronger budgeting strategy. Obtaining this knowledge at a young age affords these students an opportunity to help foster a bright financial future. 

Lastly, as we do each year, we awarded $5,000 in scholarships to three members attending college that best demonstrated the same core values Connex Credit Union is built upon.

Continued Improvement Through Technology

At Connex, we are committed to offering the best services possible and strive to make every transaction simple, secure and convenient. In November, members that visited our website probably noticed that it was completely remodeled. To enhance the experience for you, we overhauled the entire webpage from the ground-up and made it faster, easier to navigate and ensured that necessary financial information is now quickly available.
 
If you haven’t done so already, make sure to download the latest version of our mobile application that was launched in July. The interface has been drastically improved, we have replaced written passwords with the convenience of fingerprint recognition on Android devices, and you can now use 3-D touch on your iPhone to “peek” at your account. Mobile check deposit is accessible on all these devices.
 
Our credit union was one of the first financial institutions in America to offer all forms of digital and mobile wallets including Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. The latter now also includes Samsung Gear S2 Smart Watch as a counterpart to our previously existing Apple Watch capabilities. You can make purchases directly from any of these devices, and they are safe, secure and convenient. We are setting internal targets to train all our employees to use these devices and encourage every member to take advantage of these easy-to-use features.
 
2017 will bring further innovation as we seek to provide the products and services that can make your Unbanking experience the best it can be.

Stay Connected with Connex on Social Media
 
Our social media channels are the best way to stay up-to-date on any important Connex news. These accounts allow us to stay connected with our members and gain a better understanding of your individual needs. Those who have previously subscribed to our Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts will be happy to know that we have now joined Instagram. If you use Instagram, search for Connex_ct and follow us today.
 
This year we introduced our new video series, Connex Financial Flash, which offers quick tips and tricks to help you take control of your financial life. Multiple episodes of these short and informative spots are already available on our YouTube channel and highlight important information such as financing secondary education, cyber security and more. Subscribe today to ensure you never miss another Financial Flash!
 
This year we introduced our new video series, Connex Financial Flash, which offers quick tips and tricks to help you take control of your financial life. Multiple episodes of these short and informative spots are already available on our YouTube channel and highlight important information such as financing secondary education, cyber security and more. Subscribe today to ensure you never miss another Financial Flash!

Connex Keeps Growing: Expansion into Fairfield County

Our award-winning Connex service is now available to anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in Fairfield County. Now, an even larger section of Southeastern CT has access to the same resources that have satisfied more than 48,000 members. We have witnessed significant member growth since receiving approval from the Department of Banking for this expansion, and we are excited to develop our partnership with the people of Fairfield County. We are vigorously exploring opportunities to locate a branch facility to better serve this region.

Financial Empowerment Commission

Earlier this year, I joined the City of New Haven’s Financial Empowerment Commission, after the city was one of 5 nationally to be awarded a grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. In November 2016, Mayor Toni Harp held a public meeting to announce the results of the Commission’s work at the new Financial Empowerment Center in New Haven, and also announced the release of a website for city residents. The Mayor’s goal, in part, was to improve the financial stability among low-income residents of the city, provide them a resource for financial literacy and counseling seminars, and work to develop a plan that offers them access to safe and appropriate banking products and asset-building opportunities. I was proud to participate as a member of the Commission in 2016, and represent Connex in its role as a community leader and advocate.
 
As 2016 comes to a close, I can say with confidence that it has been an immensely critical year in the progression of Connex Credit Union. The triumphs achieved this year have not only improved the current state of our institution, but have set us on a path for continued success in the years to come. Connex Credit Union is built upon our commitment to customer advocacy and we will continue to provide the services and technology necessary to offer the best possible experience to you, our members!
 
All of us at Connex wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year. Thank you for unwavering support and we are eager to continue your financial journey in 2017.
 
Sincerely,
 
Frank Mancini
President and Chief Executive Officer
Connex Credit Union

 

 

 

© 2017 Connex Credit Union.

Routing Number: 211178200

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