A Message from Our President/CEO
I hope you enjoyed a fun-filled and prosperous summer with family and friends as now fall quickly approaches. Although the State continues to face the challenges of an uncertain economic environment, I’m very proud to share with you that Connex continues to maintain its position as one of the most successful credit unions in Connecticut, now approaching almost $700 million in assets and almost 60,000 members in our cooperative. This year has been a bit slower in terms of asset growth than the prior two years, and with a strong last quarter, we hope to end the year at an all-time high above $700M in assets.
Even with our strong growth over the past three years, as members, you should feel confident that your financial institution is solid, and we are routinely examined by the State Department of Banking and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for safety and soundness. The results of our most recent examination this quarter were overwhelmingly positive and we continue to receive strong ratings, validating the overall health of Connex as a financial institution. In addition, annually, our Supervisory Committee engages an independent accounting firm to audit our financial records as well. Our fiscal year ends September 30, 2019, and the upcoming independent audit will be conducted by the accounting firm of Whittlesey. I am proud of the folks we have working for us here at Connex, and the effort they put in to maintaining a strong system of internal controls. Many of these folks are in our back-office, and often go unrecognized because they are not out in the branches or member-facing, but I assure you they do a great job of producing financials, maintaining budgets, paying bills, processing transactions, and maintaining a sound control environment.
Since 1995, Connex Credit Union continues to maintain its Five-Star “Superior” designation 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. Our growth has helped us maintain our strong capitalization, invest back in your credit union, provide superior service, and offer the products you expect from a “best in class” financial institution. As a member, you can take advantage of the great rates we’re able to offer. Please stop by one of our local eight branches, by phone, or via connexcu.org to learn how these benefits can work for you.
Net Promoter Results Soon
Our mission of Customer Advocacy is founded on the principle of meeting the needs of our members to improve their financial lives. In order to make sure we are on track and meeting your needs, annually we 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?” There are certainly other questions in the survey, as well as opportunities for members to provide qualitative input into how to make our cooperative a better one for all our members.
This year’s survey has just been completed and our vendor is now compiling all of the data. Thank you for participating in this year’s Net Promoter Survey and I look forward to reading your feedback and sharing the results with you when they become available.
We’re Listening to Our Members!
As a clear example of some of the input from prior year’s Net Promoter Survey, we heard from members that they didn’t like receiving $50 bills when using the ATM for larger cash withdrawals. We were told that $50 bills are not always easy to break, especially at local stores. We also explained to members how they could get the bills they wanted in “ITM mode”, but some members were unaware of that option. Simultaneously, we have been working with our vendor to develop a change to the technology that would give members more convenience and in an easier way. It took us almost a year working with our vendor to actually get this “Bill-Select” technology enhancement accomplished, and in the next month, we will be making this change to how our ATMs dispense bills, which was directly based on your feedback.
Soon you’ll have the option to select your denominations when withdrawing funds from a Connex ATM. When withdrawing cash, you can select to receive $5’s, $20’s, or $50’s. This new feature will be more convenient for our members in not having to withdraw more money than you really need, including those with low account balances who want to take out less than $20 or who need $25 but don’t want to take out $40. We will be upgrading our ATMs with this new feature in the next quarter, and we will be sure to let you know once it’s complete.
ConneXfactor Winner to be Announced
The sixth season of our extremely popular ConneXfactor competition will soon announce its winner in a grand ceremony on October 16th where we will award nearly $5,000 in prizes. This year’s participants include Nikia Bigard, Sheila Gatison, EJ Howard, and Justine Jarvie. These contestants and their Connex Financial Advocates have dedicated months working together to establish specific action plans on how to achieve their short-term financial goals and build a discipline that will lead to long-term financial success. I’m proud to say many of them have already exceeded their original expectations. The ConneXfactor program is truly an embodiment of the core values of Customer Advocacy that Connex is built on and I’m eager to view and share the final results. We encourage everyone to follow 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. I always find the ConneXfactor finale to be a special and emotional event, one that I look forward to every year.
Supporting the Community with ConnexCares
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.
During the summer, we offered to make a monetary donation to the Ronald McDonald House® of New Haven for every new checking account opened. The Ronald McDonald House of New Haven, and the only one in Connecticut, is a safe and welcoming “home away from home” for families with children being treated for serious illness. They help to keep families together and near the care they need. We received a tremendous response and I am excited to report that we made a $2,500 donation to the Ronald McDonald House. We are very happy to support such a worthy organization.
Each quarter, we support local charitable organizations through our Coins-for-Change program. We collect and donate the fees from our coin-cashing machines, and during the third quarter of 2019, we contributed more than $3,000 to Ryan’s Rebels, Haven’s Harvest, Soul Friends, and the Mariachi Academy of New England. Thank you to everyone who donated! Coins-for-Change will be continuing during Quarter 4, and we encourage anyone who would like to participate to bring their spare change to the Guilford, Hamden, Monroe, or North Haven branches.
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 including “Credit Score Basics”, “How to Create a Budget” and “First Time Home Buyers”. Visit the “Member Info & Resources” section of our website to register for one of our upcoming workshops.
In addition, Connex once again took part in National Miracle Jeans Day. In mid-September, our employees donated $10 for the chance to wear jeans to work for one day and $20 for two days. We collected and matched donations up to $1,000 and proudly announced we reached that limit – donating a total of $2,000 to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.
On October 12th, a group of Connex volunteers will sharpen their carpentry skills, pick up hammers and paint brushes, and donate their 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.
Looking Forward to 2020
Next year we will celebrate our 80th year - an accomplishment that we are all extremely proud of. We are grateful to our members who trust us to provide the best financial products and services designed to improve their financial lives. When Connex was founded as New Haven Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union in 1940, I don’t believe any of the ten original employees could have ever expected that their company would eventually boast almost 60,000 members. Even after all of this time, we are still committed to the core values that were set forth over three quarters of a century ago – “Improving the lives of our members … One member at a time”.
As we enter the final quarter of 2019, this has been an excellent year of growth and prosperity for Connex Credit Union. Thank you for your continued dedication to Connex and we look forward to assisting you on your path to financial success! I hope that you have a wonderful autumn season and enjoy the upcoming holidays with friends, family and loved ones.
Very Truly Yours,
Connex Credit Union