Member-owners.Member-owners.

As the uncertainties of 2020 followed well into 2021, the importance of the service we provide was once again reinforced. It goes well beyond providing Northeast Wisconsin with convenient banking options. As a member-owned financial cooperative, we have the opportunity every day to'Find a Way' in our members' lives, while also making a difference, big and small, across our community. 


Our member-owners say it best.

We strive to create connections and impact people's lives. That’s why we love to share what it means to be a member-owner of Community First.


“We feel like we’re part of a family, and everybody is so friendly and helpful. It’s just like a hometown willing to help you out in any way they can. We definitely like the relationship we have with Community First.”



Susie G., Member-Owner


“We love how Community First is so involved in the community and the staff is so friendly and helpful. With three kids, we have a pretty busy lifestyle. We’re going to Disney next month, and Community First found a way to make our kids extremely happy by changing a bucket full of coins into $300 for them to take along.”



Ryan & Kerri H., Member-Owners

Woman with dark hair and white shirt inside the Oshkosh Westowne Branch of Community First


“I love Community First’s digital banking. It’s very easy to navigate, to deposit checks, make transfers or just check a balance in my account. Plus, they found a way to help me build my credit.” 

Teal horizontal line

Erica F., Member-Owner


People helping people – you are our why.

Board Chair/President Report

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.

 

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE  

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.
 

MEMBER EXPERIENCE

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.”


GROWTH/FINANCIAL STRENGTH

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.

From everyday moments to life’s major milestones, Community First is here for our members. As your needs change, our products and services evolve with you.
 

We’re here to help you live your best life with financial services you need and advice you can trust.


 
Our team worked hard last year to expand our offerings with a new digital banking system. This innovative system enabled us to introduce many new features to give members an exceptional experience across our mobile and online banking platforms. Features like card controls, a new security feature that lets you temporarily lock or unlock your credit and debit cards to protect funds and help prevent unauthorized transactions. Real time transaction alerts, which can be set by location, dollar amount and even merchant type. New credit score monitoring and score simulation tools and the ability to bring in your accounts from other financials to give you a full overview of your financial situation, and to make transferring between accounts easy and convenient.

Looking ahead to 2022, we will continue to add new features to the digital banking system, and this spring we plan to introduce Palm Vein Authentication, a touchless biometric technology that securely and uniquely identifies you by simply presenting the palm of your hand over a small, touchless scanner. This new technology is widely regarded as the most secure biometric identification and will enable us to protect your identity and personal information on an even greater level. In the summer of 2022, we will roll out contactless 'Tap to Pay' debit and credit cards. Tap to Pay joins chip and digital wallet transactions as the most secure ways to make in-person payments. Along with the Tap to Pay feature, we’ve also redesigned all of our debit and credit cards. As your current cards expire or need to be replaced, you’ll receive new cards with the Tap to Pay feature. Additionally, in 2022, work will begin on a new branch in Manitowoc and as well as several branch remodels. The Community First Insurance Center will move from the Richmond St. branch and co-locate with our branch staff and Community First Financial Advisor team at the Oneida St. office. We will continue to explore opportunities and member requests for branches in other communities.

At Community First, we believe in the power of community. Nothing makes us prouder than to know we’re making a positive impact to help the places you call home flourish. In 2021, on your behalf, the credit union contributed $1.7 million to 124 non-profit, civic and economic development causes throughout our service region. We give across a broad range of interest areas because our member-owners care about a broad range of needs. Beyond financial contributions, our in-kind donations further supported non-profits, and members contributed over $62,000, purchasing icons and candy bars in the branches to support a variety of causes. Our team also had an incredible impact, sharing their time, talent and resources, volunteering 17,791 hours last year. Our community involvement comes from a strong belief that as a business we don’t just provide jobs and income. We want to be active participants, joining together with our members to make a real difference in people’s lives. Each year we push ourselves to fulfill the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” and do everything we can to support the communities we serve.
 
Standing still has never been an option for Community First, and the events of the past year and those we’re experiencing today only amplify that truth. As we look ahead to the remainder of 2022, we will rise to meet whatever life brings, with agility, resolve, and grace. On behalf of your Board of Directors, and our entire team, thank you for your continued faith in Community First. Thank you for trusting us to serve your financial needs, especially during these uncertain times. #meraki

Together, We’ll Find a Way!

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Kathryn-Sieman-Board-Chair-Signature.png
Kathryn Sieman, Board Chair


Cathie-Tierney-President-and-CEO-Signature.png
Cathie Tierney, President/CEO





You are the reason why what we do matters.

Ending 2021 at nearly $5 billion in assets and serving almost 149,000 member-owners, there is no denying what the power of ‘people helping people’ can accomplish. We have grown and prospered, but what matters most is that we’ve remained true to our purpose – working together in the people helping people spirit of the cooperative, making a difference for and succeeding – together.



 



Reinvesting in your credit union.

The value of belonging to Community First Credit Union means you keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. We pass the profits right back to you through better rates and dividends, low-to-no fees, cost-saving conveniences and personalized services that match the way you want to bank:


Our newly launched 5-star rated Digital Banking platform


Twenty-six neighborhood branches located across NE Wisconsin


More than 620,000 calls answered by our live & local team

Local. Trusted. Professionals.

Community First Insurance Center and Community First Financial Advisors provide a full range of insurance products, investments and retirement planning services. We’re proud to report that both programs achieved growth milestones in 2021, serving more members and being recognized among peers across the nation.

  


We'll find a way together.

Our mission is to be a place where everybody counts, everybody cares, everybody delivers – everyday. Because when we work together we all benefit.


“My wife and I have been with Community First 20 plus years, and we love it. The people are wonderful, and the digital banking is so convenient right from my phone. Community First takes care of all my financial needs. They treat me like family. It’s a fantastic organization.”



David R., Member-Owner

“Community First understands the working family and what’s important. It’s local, the digital banking is very convenient, and we can always find a branch whether we’re in Waupaca, Appleton, Green Bay or New London. Community First makes our lives easier.”



Betsy & Alyssa G., Member-Owners

“I’m in sales, and if you treat people the way you like to be treated, life is good. Community First takes care of my needs as a member in a very friendly, helpful environment. They are outstanding to work with.”



Arlen B., Member-Owner






Living our name.

We believe in the power of community, so much so, that we made it part of our name. Our goal? To improve the lives of our members and the communities they call home. On your behalf, in 2021, Community First contributed $1.7 million to 124 charitable and civic causes throughout our service region. We continue to give across a broad range of interest areas because our members care about a broad range of needs.



 


 

"We continue to make a profoundly positive difference for you, your families and the communities you call home."

Cathie Tierney
President/CEO, Community First Credit Union



 

 


Members are the reason behind our success.

As the financial services industry has dramatically evolved over the years, so has the role of the board. Today, your board is entrusted with the direction of Community First and the complexities that come with oversight for a multi-billion dollar organization. Each member of the Board must have strong financial knowledge, diverse skills and dedication to meet member expectations and the oversight requirements within the competitive and highly regulated financial services industry. Community First Credit Union’s Board of Directors is an extremely committed group of volunteers, dedicated to ensuring the success and stability of the credit union on behalf of the member-owners.


 
KATHRYN SIEMAN


KATHRYN SIEMAN
BOARD CHAIR 
SVP/CFO/Treasurer,
CSE Insurance Group

SARA MICHELETTI

SARA MICHELETTI
VICE CHAIR
 Attorney/Shareholder, 
Sitzmann Law Firm, Ltd.

MONICA HILT

MONICA HILT 
SECRETARY

Chief Operating Officer,
Ascension Wisconsin

CATHIE TIERNEY


CATHIE TIERNEY
TREASURER
President/CEO,
Community First Credit Union

DANIEL FERRIS

DANIEL FERRIS
VP, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary,
SECURA Insurance Companies
JAY FULKERSON

JAY FULKERSON
Retired, President/CEO,
Health Payment Systems, Inc.

MONICA HILT

PETER MARIAHAZY
Chief Administration
Officer, Catalysis

DR. SUSAN MAY

DR. SUSAN MAY 
President Emeritus, 
Fox Valley Technical College 

DEAN HAWKINSON

MICHAEL MOORE
VP Global Engineering,
Oshkosh Corporation

Honoring Dave Peperkorn



David Allen Peperkorn joined the Community First Board in 1986. At the time, he was employed as Vice-President of Human Resources at Presto Products. In 1989, he took on the role of Board Secretary, became Vice-Chair in 1991 and was elected Chairman of our Board in 1993. Throughout his 32 years of board service, with his extensive background in HR, Dave served as Chairman of our Talent and Compensation committee. He retired from Presto in 2006. In 2018, he reprised his role as CFCU Board Secretary and continued to serve in that capacity until his passing. 

Dave was a passionate advocate for our credit union, the industry and our communities. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2021 and passed away on September 6. We are so grateful to Dave for the many gifts he brought to this life – his faith, his family, the impact he made throughout our community in ways both big and small. In his honor, the credit union has made a gift to the Samaritan Counseling Center’s new facility. He was an accomplished gardener, and our gift will enable them to do special landscaping surrounding the ‘Peperkorn Patio‘ (named for him, as Chairman of their facilities committee). Dave played a huge role in the success and growth of Community First. His spirit will live on in the hearts and minds of all of us who know and love him. We know that our time on this earth is measured, and the idea is not to live forever, but to create something that will – Dave Peperkorn did that, and we are grateful!



Where the  strength of the cooperative benefits every member.


 

Asset Growth

In Billions

Reserve Growth

In Millions

Membership Growth

Statement of Condition


In 2021, the Audit Committee authorized the accounting firm of CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP to conduct the annual audit and verification of member accounts.

Statement of Income



We are proud to have received the Raddon Crystal Performance Award for the 13th consecutive year. The award recognizes Community First’s financial strength as among the Top 10 Credit Unions in the U.S.

 




It's truly about the connections we make with you.

We take the responsibility of managing your credit union very seriously, however we believe that success isn’t measured by balance sheets and industry awards alone. It’s found in the stories you share with us. The challenges overcome. The goals achieved. The dreams fulfilled. It’s the connections made that let us know we are serving our most important mission of people helping people. 

“We recently experienced a hiccup when trying to buy our condo. I called Community First and told them the scenario. I really didn’t think there was shot in the dark they’d be able to help us, but they found a way within the time frame we needed. When I got the call that things were all approved, I started crying and thinking ‘OK, so this relationship we’ve had for 30 years has truly paid off because we trusted them all these years … and now they're trusting in us.’” 


Member-Owner



We call this Meraki. 

It means ... serving our members with heart, soul and love.

 



You are our reason why!