Community First is proud to be a local, member-owned financial institution where all decisions are made by employees and volunteers who are very vested in the communities we serve. Your trust, coupled with our commitment to doing the right thing, is a powerful force allowing us to grow and thrive. “People helping people” is a simple mantra that underscores ... you are our why.
As we look back at last year we are reminded that not everything can be predicted. Yet, even in the midst of confusing times, we Find a Way to endure and even learn to thrive. Despite the continued challenges presented by the global pandemic, 2021 was a year of strong growth and success for your credit union.
There are many ways to measure the performance of a financial institution. Industry analysts rely on quantitative signs of strength, safety and growth. Others look at metrics and ratios that measure net income, capital, and market share. While all of these measurements are important, we think that the most important measurement is how we serve our members.
Community First’s strategic goals are built around achieving our mission as measured by our 3 Key Success Factors: Employee Experience, Member Experience, Growth/Financial Sustainability.
Our commitment to outstanding member service can only be honored by attracting and retaining the best employees. In 2021, we celebrated 68 internal promotions, providing development opportunities for our team members to grow their careers at the credit union. We increased our starting wage, paying particular attention to our member-facing roles. The work they do and the service they deliver for you is critical to our success. Employee engagement scores increased from 80% to 85% in 2021. When it comes to employment, the world is changing and we need to change with it. We take care of our employees because they take care of you.
Understanding what matters most to you and how we can better serve you is important to us. Member survey results were very positive, with 77% of members indicating they are “members for life," and 80% that the credit union is very easy to do business with. Another important measure is the Credit Union Loyalty Score - it is comprised of 4 key metrics: Very satisfied; Will give Credit Union all future loan business; Will give all future deposit business; and extremely likely to recommend the Credit Union to others. In 2021, our Loyalty Score increased by 5 points, with members reporting: “CFCU lives its promise to find a way, is a strong supporter of community events and organizations, provides service that goes above and beyond, and treats me like a member/owner of the credit union.”
We are proud to help make dreams come true. Deposits grew 17% to $4.4 billion, and loan growth increased by just over 6% to $3.1 billion. We finished the year with total assets of $4.9 billion, a 16.4% increase over 2020. The continued low interest rate environment meant reduced earnings from both loans and investments, but staff worked diligently to offset lower revenues by finding efficiencies in operations, resulting in a 3.25% reduction in operating expenses from the previous year. Loan delinquencies and charge-offs continued to stay well below industry averages. At year end, we transferred $54 million to reserves to continue to build the credit union’s financial strength. Community First has a net worth of 11.16%, well above the regulatory requirement, and is one of the strongest credit unions in the country.
It’s a big point of pride that for the 13th consecutive year, your credit union has earned the honor of being one of the Top 10 credit unions in the country for our financial performance. Our financial strength enables us to do more for our members – like providing lower loan rates, much higher rates on deposits, convenient locations, caring employees and the opportunity together to make a positive difference in the communities we call home.
Every person that joins Community First is another life we get to impact for the better.
Last year, 10,984 people joined our credit union family. Being a part of a member’s life journey is a privilege and a joy, and we’re thrilled to now serve 148,970 member-owners.