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Report to Membership 2019

To our members,

BECU’s heritage began in 1935 during the Great Depression, when a group of Boeing employees pooled funds together to provide each other with small loans for buying the equipment required to do their jobs. This humble beginning, and the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People,” fueled the formation of BECU.

This past year, we formalized and declared our purpose: “Bringing people together to improve the financial well-being of our members and their communities.” As your credit union, our focus is on removing barriers, solving problems and creating opportunities to empower you to reach your financial goals. And at no other time in our recent history has this been more important as our members and communities face the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a financial cooperative, BECU’s overall economic health continues to create additional opportunity for us to invest and return profits to our members and local region. We ended 2019 with 1.2 million members and more than $22.2 billion in assets. Our work this past year ensures that BECU remains in a strong financial position so that we can help support our employees, members and communities during times of economic uncertainty.

Looking back, examples of how we reinvested profits into our membership in 2019 include:

  1. Returned $388 million to members (an average of $322 per member—$46 more than we returned in 2018) through better rates and fewer fees compared to bank averages.
  2. Saved almost 55,000 members an estimated $2.3 million through our Reprice program, which automatically reduces interest rates on loans and credit cards for eligible members who demonstrate healthy financial habits.
  3. Assisted members in purchasing 285 homes with $1.5 million in funds, through the First-Time Homebuyer Grant program.
  4. Refunded ATM Fees saving Member Advantage members over $6.2 million in out-of-network ATM surcharges.

In 2019, the credit union also funded a wide array of community partners with grants totaling $6.4 million. We primarily focused on financial well-being, in line with our purpose. But we also gave to organizations suggested by our members, loaned to nonprofits innovating smarter housing solutions and supported programs for the next generation of business leaders—all to improve our communities.

Our strength has enabled us to innovate and assist members and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For consumer and business members, this includes payment relief assistance, deferred payment options, loans and more. Locally, we are also helping to fund eight nonprofit organizations driving response efforts in BECU communities that will make long-term positive impacts for those who need it most.

Our membership reflects everyone from first-graders opening their first saving account to business owners ready for personalized assistance, fewer fees and enthusiastic support. New student loan options, emergency fund support and continuing education scholarships work to improve the future earnings prospects for our region’s adults. And our educational outreach provides children, teens and adults with the financial knowledge and resources necessary to navigate the economic landscape. Our decisions are guided by our purpose, and our purpose is inspired by our commitment to you—our members.

With one another’s support, we’ll make it through adversity and challenging times. We appreciate your commitment to BECU, and we promise to remain dedicated to supporting the members and communities we serve.

Susan Ehrlich, Chair, BECU Board of Directors

Benson Porter, President & Chief Executive Officer

Continue to other sections of our 2019 Annual Report:

II. BECU + COMMUNITY

III. BECU + CREW

IV. BY THE NUMBERS

I. BECU + YOU

As a not-for-profit owned by our members, every dollar we make is put back into the cooperative and the communities we serve. Through growing our reserves and membership in a sustainable way, we’re able to provide more value to our members, and offer more resources and programs designed to improve your financial well-being.

This year, membership grew by 6.5% as we welcomed nearly 133,000 new members and more than 9,800 business members to the cooperative. As of the end of 2019, BECU had more than 1.2 million members. Whether our new members were opening children’s savings accounts, receiving first-time homeowner mortgages or taking out low-rate student loans, we’re thrilled they’ve joined the credit union.

The cooperative’s assets increased by 13.2% to $22.2 billion. BECU is one of the top five financial cooperatives in the U.S., working hard every day to “bring people together and improve the financial well-being of our members and their communities.” In fact, that is BECU’s purpose.

Here’s what we’ve been busy doing for you in the past year.

Return to Member

Your financial stability and well-being are critical to our success. So we share profits with our members—because this is your credit union.

Return to member is one of the ways we measure our success, through offering better rates and fewer fees—compared to bank averages—and refunds on fees we don’t think you should pay, such as out-of-network ATMs charges.

In 2019, we returned more than $388 million to our members (an average of $322 per member) in the form of better rates, lower fees and more grants.

Loan Rate Decreases

Great financial habits should be rewarded. So, when a member’s credit rating improves and the member demonstrates sound financial habits, we reward them with lower rates on certain BECU credit cards, lines of credit and loans, whether personal, auto or RV. We also added 1,400 business credit card holders to the program this year. In 2019, 55,000 members saw the rate on their loan reduced through our Reprice program, saving them an estimated $2.3 million. In total, this program has saved members an estimated $18.5 million over the past 15 years.

First-Time Homebuyer Grants

Saving for a down payment can be a major hurdle to homeownership, yet owning a home can be a cornerstone for long-term personal and community financial stability. In 2019, we provided $1.5 million to eligible members to assist with down payments on 285 eligible homes. For each loan, that’s up to 2% or $6,500 toward a first-home down payment or closing costs. Since the program began in 2018, we’ve granted over $2.4 million, so members could buy 438 homes.

ATM Fee Refunds

Our Member Advantage accounts come with many benefits, including no minimums and high interest rates of return for savings accounts on balances up to $500. One of the most popular features is the refund of ATM fees. Members using their BECU card at non-BECU locations were refunded a total of $6.2 million in ATM surcharges.

BECU’s purpose is to bring people together to improve the financial well-being of our members and their communities.” —Benson Porter, BECU’s president and CEO

In Service of Our Members

In 2019, we added a new Neighborhood Financial Center in the Covington, Washington neighborhood, where members can discuss loan options, apply for a credit card or open a new account. We upgraded 48 ATMs to offer easy check deposits and withdrawals, and installed and relocated six ATMs at new sites.

The goal? To make your money more accessible, and to provide better member service at any of our 50-plus locations in Washington state and South Carolina.

After all, just one question can reveal member loyalty and satisfaction: “How likely is it that you would recommend the credit union to a colleague, family member or friend?” Every year, we ask this question and our members’ responses provide us with our Net Promoter Score (NPS). Scores between 50% and 80% are considered best in class.

This year, we earned a 72.4% NPS from our members. We’re honored that so many of our members would recommend BECU to others in their lives. Thank you.

I have had nothing but the most positive of experiences with BECU! I can honestly tell you that BECU had more to do with me building an excellent credit rating than my 'primary bank’ ever did! Now, BECU is the ONLY financial institution that I deal with!” —Jim S., BECU member

HOW YOU CONNECTED WITH US IN 2019

Added New Tech Tools

Faster, easier, smarter. Member feedback drives our technology and service enhancements, which are designed to make money management more efficient. You can quickly check balances, send payments or review your budget—and then return to professional responsibilities, volunteer at your child’s school or simply enjoy the weekend. A few of BECU’s new tools in 2019 include:

Easy Money

In 2019, our members started sending and receiving money with Zelle®, with just an e-mail address or phone number. BECU doesn’t charge a fee for using this online money-transfer tool, which allows members to easily transfer money with a few simple taps.

Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

Debit Card Control

You now have more control over your debit card, whether you want to activate or pause a card, notify us before you travel, report a card lost or stolen, or even reset your PIN. Just go to Account Services in Online Banking to manage your debit card.

Improved Card Security

BECU members can now report lost or stolen credit card, or fraudulent charges via a secure message using Online Banking.

Online Accessibility

Recognized by the National Federation of the Blind for improving online accessibility for members, BECU asked blind and visually impaired members to help test improvements and upgrades.

There are several things I enjoy about BECU. First, the customer service, it is absolutely amazing. Second, the text option via the app to get questions answered. Third, the Zelle option. Fourth, the ATM reversal fee. Fifth, I love that my cards, both debit and credit cards, do not charge any foreign transaction fees. And lastly, I really like the banking app.” —Helen A., BECU member

Reported to Member-Owners

As a not-for-profit, member-owned organization, we report to you. Four years ago, we began offering an annual summit to give members insight into our year’s successes—along with snacks, fun and learning opportunities.

Our fourth annual Member Summit in 2019 offered chances, both in-person and digitally, to engage with BECU leaders, including our president and CEO, along with regionally renowned experts and financial planning professionals. More than 12,600 people in total attended, in-person or online.

Among our sessions:

  • Annual Meeting Keynote Presentation
  • Home Buying 101
  • 21st Century Retirement Strategies
  • How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
  • What to Consider When Starting a Business
  • Executive Forum
  • Estate Planning: What Everyone Needs to Know
I have never attended an annual meeting before and appreciated the opportunity to do so. I believe my credit union is in capable hands. Thank you, BECU!” —BECU member

Created Service-Oriented Partnerships

We’re always striving to roll out new programs that benefit you. Toward that end, many of this year’s new partnerships help make academic dreams a reality, build financial fitness and create a little fun, too.

College Access

In 2019, we began offering our great student loan rates to eligible college students and their parents. In partnership with LendKey, BECU now funds new private student loans, along with refinancing and consolidation for existing federal and private loans. Since launching in October, BECU has funded $3.7 million to students and parents.

Go Cougs!

We have many Cougars fans, as demonstrated by sign-ups for more than 20,000 of our new debit and credit cards featuring Washington State University’s (WSU) logo. To keep the love going, in 2019 we formalized an extended five-year partnership between BECU and WSU. The partnership includes scholarships, business plan competitions, emergency and savings funds for students, WSU Athletics and WSU Alumni Association sponsorship, and sponsorship of Cougar Money Matters, a financial assistance and planning program for all WSU students.

Thank you BECU for supporting WSU and the Cougar Community!” —Brittany B., BECU employee
SPOTLIGHT: Our WSU Partnership

On an Eastern Washington wheat field in October 2019, Stan Herd boarded a tractor. When he finished 10 days later, commuters driving by could make out the stunning, 1.5-acre image: a grinning cougar waving a WSU flag saying “Go Cougs.” BECU sponsored this fun field art in honor of our BECU-WSU partnership and the launch of a new WSU-emblazoned card.

One aspect of the partnership, Cougar Money Matters, provides WSU students with online, phone, and in-person financial assistance and information. WSU students can use iGrad, an online financial wellness tool that provides a checkup in under 20 minutes. A personalized online dashboard offers video tips, games, lessons and calculators to help students understand money management, career resources and student loans. In-person financial counseling with professionals is also available.

According to WSU, its students qualify for low-income grants at the second-highest rate among peer institutions. Yet, WSU graduates earn nearly 150% more than the national average. A BECU-WSU partnership keeps students in classrooms now, and on the road to future success.

Seahawks Score

Seattle’s favorite football team + Seattle’s favorite credit union = Member win. In 2019, BECU became the official “Credit Union of the Seattle Seahawks.” Keep an eye out for the chance to win VIP packages, tickets and additional perks related to all things ’Hawks. Seahawks legend Marcus Trufant even pitched in at our Annual Day of Service. Selected by member votes in 2019, BECU will release a Seahawks-themed debit card in the summer of 2020.

The Seahawks are known for creating unrivaled experiences for fans in the Pacific Northwest. At BECU, we are similarly passionate about our members and the communities we serve. Our partnership with the Seahawks allows BECU to provide our members with an opportunity to participate in unique, potentially once-in-a-lifetime experiences.” —Tom Berquist, BECU’s chief marketing officer

Encouraged Business-Friendly Banking

In 2019, we welcomed over 9,800 new business members. Now more than 57,000 members are enjoying our business-friendly services, including interest-bearing business checking accounts and small-business loans.

But perhaps more importantly, BECU business members find an eager partner in their business ventures. Our success depends on member success—and we love seeing entrepreneurship and great ideas take flight. Monthly maintenance fees shouldn’t be one more outlay for businesses on the rise.

SPOTLIGHT: BECU Small Business Members

Doxa Painting

Tacoma-based painting contractor Doxa Painting was tired of big-bank fees and problems. So the company moved money to BECU, a financial partner that truly cares about the success of his business.

Lights, Inc.

The small business, Lights Inc., makes Seattle a little brighter—literally—by installing lighting and wiring, with an eye on reducing emissions and boosting conservation. To get started, the small lighting business needed loans, and a lender who believed in the firm. They found both at BECU.

We needed to find a financial institution that would help you grow. It helped to have a person inside, talking to underwriters and helping...to get things done.” —Dewayne S., BECU member and cofounder of Lights, Inc.

Seattle Pops

As a child, Megan Janes dreamed of becoming a chef. As an adult, she began selling made-from-scratch popsicles at Seattle-area farmer’s markets. BECU was an enthusiastic business partner for her new storefront, Seattle Pops, in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

If we can help you become profitable, and give you the tools you need to succeed at the end of the day, for me, that’s adding value.” —Andrey D., BECU employee

Continue to the next section:

Read other sections of the 2019 Annual Report:

III. BECU + CREW

IV. BECU By the Numbers

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