2020 was an unprecedented year full of unforeseen challenges. Life as we knew it changed dramatically in March. The global pandemic and resulting economic shutdown, reminded us all how important it is to be prepared to “weather any storm.” COVID-19 put medical, emotional and financial hardships on everyone, and our hearts go out especially to those who lost loved ones during this trying time.
We are thankful to our entire team who stepped up in ways both big and small, all while their own lives were disrupted and under stress. As essential frontline workers, the majority of our staff continued to come to work at our branches and the home office every day throughout 2020. We are proud to have maintained rigorous health and safety protocols that enable us to serve members without interruption.
We are grateful to our member-owners for your patience as we worked to find new ways to serve you.
Your openness to do things in new ways as well as your kindness and concern for our employees is what makes our relationship with you so special.
While the pandemic tested all of us in ways never anticipated, it also taught us about the importance of people helping people, and how much relationships matter. Working together we weathered this storm with strength and resilience.
Despite the shockwaves to the economy this past year, Community First remained on solid financial footing.
Thanks to the faith and support of our member-owners, the steady guidance of our board of directors and decades of building strong reserves, your credit union was able to continue serve and support our members, our employees and the communities we call home. We are humbled and proud that we were able to do this and still achieve strong financial results.
During 2020 membership grew to 145,544, and we welcomed 5,722 new member-owners including the members of Oshkosh Truck Credit Union who merged with us on March 1, 2020. Total assets grew by $821 million to $4.23 billion, a 24% increase over 2019. Deposits increased a record 26.4% to $3.7 billion; $491 million more than planned. The significant increase was largely due to the stimulus funds members received. Loans grew 12.6% to $2.9 billion.
Much of our loan growth was fueled by historically low mortgage rates. We’re proud to have helped thousands of members either purchase or refinance a home in 2020. The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP loans) to help member businesses also helped the credit union with both loan growth and fee income paid by the SBA.
The dramatic decline in interest rates has impacted the credit union and our members. While dividends paid to members increased over 2019, the credit union’s Investment income decreased in 2020 by more than $7.4 million.