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Report to Membership 2020

To our members,

BECU is no stranger to helping members through tough times. Our heritage began in 1935 during the Great Depression's turbulence, when people often relied on each other for financial assistance rather than the big banks. With few trusted resources available, a group of Boeing employees pooled funds for small loans so teammates could purchase tools and cover other basic needs.

Since then, we've weathered many storms together—layoffs and strikes, natural disasters and financial recessions—while guided by the cooperative spirit of people helping people. But few years brought as much turmoil as 2020. COVID-19 completely reshaped how we live, work and socialize. Many people lost loved ones to the pandemic, and others experienced devastating economic losses. In mid-2020, the nation faced a long-overdue reckoning with the pain of systemic racism.

The past year motivated necessary actions rooted in our founding, purpose and values. BECU's strong fiscal position allowed us to buffer others against COVID-19's financial impacts. We assisted our communities with donations and financial education. Our support for members and business members included loan deferrals, waived fees, income interruption and Paycheck Protection Program loans and more. We delivered more than 26,000 loan payment relief actions with a balance of $530.6 million. Throughout it all, we prioritized the health and safety of our employees and members, and their long-term financial health.

As a credit union family, we’re committed to becoming a more equitable, diverse and inclusive cooperative, both internally and externally. We’ve developed a path forward that includes creating more inclusive policies, practices and programs. An example of this work is a $5 million commitment over the next five years through the Black Community Development Project (BCDP). The donations and grants through the project support Black-led nonprofits improving the Black community's overall emotional, physical and financial health and well-being. The BCDP is the first step in a larger, long-term investment in programs supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

Our credit union philosophy of people helping people jump-started BECU's founding and still drives us today. BECU's resources allow us to continue reaching out to those who need it most. We ended 2020 with over 1.28 million members and nearly $26.8 billion in assets, a 20.7% increase over 2019. We returned $372 million to members through better rates, lower fees and unique programs designed to help members through a challenging year.

Our 2020 report highlights our numerous efforts, including new initiatives. We hope to showcase our great pride in how BECU and its employees innovated and adapted, providing member and community relief during a challenging year. We're in awe of the resilience across our communities, and the ways people have shown up for one another.

In all, 2020 tested us in many ways. But we're an even stronger team, a better organization and a more trusted credit union as a result. Last year's lessons can move us forward in alignment with our values and purpose. As credit union members and employees, we embody a simple but powerful idea: People helping people makes us more powerful as individuals and as a community.

Susan Ehrlich, Chair, BECU Board of Directors

Benson Porter, President & Chief Executive Officer

Continue to other sections of our 2020 Annual Report:

II. BECU + COMMUNITY

III. BECU + CREW

IV. BY THE NUMBERS

I. BECU + YOU

In 2020, BECU employees and members worked together to meet unprecedented difficulties with dedication, thoughtfulness and a commitment to our community's overall financial well-being. BECU started 2020 in a strong financial position, giving us the opportunity to serve you better, return a portion of our profits to members, provide meaningful COVID-19 support, and build a more equitable future for our communities.

Solid Fundamentals

As a financial cooperative, we work to steward your funds, provide access to relevant and helpful products, services and resources, and report annually on our performance. Our members are more than numbers—you own this cooperative—and we encourage more people to join us so we can continue to grow our resources and programs to improve your financial well-being.

Our more than 1.28 million strong membership grew by 3.8% in 2020, while our assets increased by 20.7% to $26.8 billion. Member deposits grew significantly last year and were up by 25% over 2019, whether due to reduced spending, stimulus deposits, a frugal focus—or all three.

My sister told me for years to switch to BECU, so I finally did. I just wish I'd done it years before. I'm very happy with BECU.” —Rebecca G., BECU member

COVID-19 Support for Members

BECU has been through tough times before, from the Great Depression to more recent recessions. So, we had the experience and infrastructure in place to meet COVID-19's unprecedented financial impact, and pivot even more of our efforts to digital member interactions. Some members needed short-term relief before the next electricity or rent bill was due. Others struggled with mortgage payments and required modifications to help weather longer-term economic uncertainty.

As one example, our Income Interruption Loans allowed members with reduced income to borrow up to $2,500 at 0% to 5% APR, and receive help from our Financial Health Check team. Our team funded $7.1 million through more than 3,600 loans for members facing reduced income last year.

As one member told us: “It is absolutely clear that BECU is an organization that cares about its members as people rather than being profit-driven. There is no clearer example of this than the blanket offer to all members to apply for a 0% APR personal loan up to $2,500.”

More COVID-19 Assistance

Here's how we expanded our existing relief programs:

  • Delivered more than 26,000 loan payment relief actions with a balance of $530.6 million.
  • Waived late fees for payments on personal, auto, boat and RV loans, home equity and personal lines of credit, and credit cards.
  • Offered payment deferral options on consumer loans and credit cards, and deferred student loan payments for up to 90 days.
  • Reduced loan payments to interest-only for HELOCs and personal lines of credit.
  • Released collateral (or holds) on savings-secured loans guaranteed by a savings account. Freeing this collateral allowed members to have additional cash on hand.
  • Suspended foreclosures and provided forbearance on mortgage payments.
  • Empowered account holders to more easily move money between savings, checking and money market accounts after suspending excess transaction fees (Regulation D).
  • Educated members and the community via live-streamed online webinars on COVID-19 related topics, such as facing a layoff or dealing with uncertainty. Members could also participate in virtual Financial Reality Fairs and free Financial Health Checks.
SPOTLIGHT: Helping Members

We love fan mail from you—even when it's sent to a partner. So, we were thrilled to hear that a BECU member sent a thank-you note to our nonprofit partner GreenPath Financial Wellness. GreenPath provided one-on-one counseling for those facing credit, debt and budgeting challenges during COVID-19.

On a handwritten card to GreenPath, the member thanked the financial counselor who helped them with budgeting: “I'm glad BECU referred me to you guys! And for free, too! Hopefully I will get unemployment or go back to my job soon.”

This individual was just one of our 1,300 members using GreenPath's wide range of services, including managing $4 million in members’ debt repayment.

Ongoing Service

As a financial cooperative, BECU isn't responsible for shareholder profits or wowing Wall Street. Instead, we aim to return profits to our VIMs—our Very Important Members—while continually improving our services. (Psst… in case you were wondering, every member is a VIM.)

Return to Members

One of BECU's key success metrics is called Return to Member. Whether we have a good year or a bad year, we do our best to ensure we support our members with competitive rates and fewer banking fees, while at the same time ensuring the credit union remains strong and resilient.

We remain deeply committed to helping you—our members—save and grow your money. In total in 2020, we returned over $372 million to members in the form of better rates and lower fees compared to bank averages, for an average of $294 per member.

Interest Rates

Our Reprice Program is one example of our Return to Members. If a member isn’t already paying our lowest published rate, this program automatically lowers the interest rate of an auto, boat, RV, credit card, line of credit, or personal loan when a member's credit score or financial habits improve. Nearly 50,000 members saved an estimated $4.8 million in 2020.

Due to global economic shifts and historically low interest rates, we had to lower rates on some of our deposit accounts and adjust the margin on our credit card last year. However, we also delivered more value through waiving certain fees, like late and excess transaction fees, and providing greater flexibility on loan payments for members impacted by the pandemic.

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance

In 2020, BECU granted over $2 million through down payment assistance for 335 loans in our First-Time Homebuyer Grant Program, another way we offer Return to Member. By the end of 2020, first-time homebuyers purchased 780 houses in total, using over $4.5 million in grants since the program launched in 2018.

SPOTLIGHT: DEALS + DISCOUNTS

BECU members also enjoy advantages through our semi-annual paper shredding and e-cycle event, along with discounted pricing or tickets for tax filing or to restaurants, events and attractions (socially distanced for 2020, of course).

Scoring for Wins

To discover whether our members are happy, we use Net Promoter Scores (NPS), which measure customer experience and loyalty. To gather NPS, members are asked the following question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” A score of 50% or more is considered excellent. In 2020, we earned an average NPS of 69.99%. While our scores were down slightly from previous years due to longer wait times and other COVID-19 impacts, our score is still one of the highest in the financial industry.

Serving You, Every Day

You rely on us to access your account, cash your paycheck, offer a first-time home loan, replace your debit card, discuss payment options and more. We encouraged members to connect with us digitally during the pandemic and, when possible, reduce visits to Neighborhood Financial Centers (NFC). We also know sometimes you really need to talk in person—and we were there for you.

THROUGHOUT 2020, THIS IS HOW YOU GOT IN TOUCH WITH US:

I had to make an appointment due to COVID-19. I actually got in early and it only took a few minutes to set up a new savings account. Having someone in the cash machine area is also really helpful!” —Anonymous BECU member

New Service Programs & Enhancements

Have a tip or idea? We're always listening to your ideas and responding to needs. Here are a few of our 2020 efforts to make managing your money easier, faster, and yes—more fun.

New Debit Card Designs

In 2020, we collaborated with beloved Seattle-based public radio station KEXP to create debit cards with a nostalgic mixtape design. They were a smash hit. More than 70,500 debit cards went out to enthusiasts. Just like an old-school cassette tape, this card plays music; with every debit swipe, BECU donates one cent to the station. Our member-owned credit union furnished $72,600 in donations to listener-powered KEXP.

A genuine team effort also went into our official Seattle Seahawks debit cards. BECU members voted on the final design in 2019 and now these distinctive blue cards huddle in more than 95,250 wallets.

New Digital Savings Tools

We invested in digital products and resources to boost your savings and better support your financial health, including:

  • Save-Up. Opting in to automatic savings with Save-Up rounds up debit card purchases and stashes extra cash into member savings accounts.
  • Quick Save. Swiping right on this app feature gamifies the movement of dollars from checking to savings. Introduced as a pilot in 2020, Quick Save should show up for everyone in the BECU app in 2021.
  • BECU Messenger. We upgraded and expanded our chat presence so members can now conveniently, and seamlessly, connect with us across BECU.org and their mobile device.
  • Mobile enhancements. Managing your debit card, checking your FICO score each month, setting travel notifications and more with your mobile device is easier than ever with updates to our award-winning app.

In total, more than 34,000 members saved $4.6 million through our Save-Up and Quick Save programs last year.

New Locations

We added two new Neighborhood Financial Centers to the 50+ BECU locations where you can open accounts, apply for loans and access ATMs. In Bothell, Washington, we opened a location at the community hub of Thrasher's Corner and our new Neighborhood Financial Center in Bellingham, Washington welcomed Whatcom County residents.

The BECU branch in Thrasher's Corner is phenomenal. If you want excellent customer service, please visit this location. We plan on switching all our banking over because of the staff at this location!” —Shelby W., BECU member

Business + BECU

Business isn't “just business” at BECU, but a relationship that nurtures small business growth and innovative ideas to benefit our community's financial health at large. We added over 9,600 new business members last year, growing our network to over 62,000 business members. Here are a few highlights from the past year.

Business Member COVID-19 Support

Businesses were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether closing temporarily to comply with state mandates, challenged by disrupted supply chains, or facing sharply reduced customer traffic. BECU took several steps to help our business members navigate this difficult time.

Real-Time Relief. BECU modified more than 390 business and commercial real estate loans, including skip payments for credit cards, vehicle loans, unsecured term loans and lines of credit.

Creative Campaign. Recognizing the pandemic’s heavy impact on local small businesses, we partnered with BECU’s ad agency to create a marketing campaign featuring small business members. We highlight businesses through TV spots, social media promotion, prints ads and window displays in our local Neighborhood Financial Centers. The campaign encouraged people to “Shop Local,” showcasing local products and services, including a bridal shop, winery and homemade goods retailer.

PPP Loans. We funded over 2,560 loans totaling $95.9 million via the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Each PPP loan was around $37,450 on average and helped keep more than 11,000 workers on the job. A few of our grateful PPP recipients include:

Several years ago, CEO Yoram Bernet showed interest in a BECU line of credit for his sustainability software business, Scope 5, and met BECU employee Andrey. “Each time, Andrey has been prompt to respond, eager to help, and professional and clear in his advice,” Bernet says.

In 2020, the business owner reached out to complete PPP loan paperwork. Despite the crush of applicants, Andrey found time to shepherd Scope 5 through the PPP process. “It's this kind of relationship and care demonstrated by Andrey that makes me choose BECU as Scope 5's financial institution, over any other [financial institution],” Bernet says.

Hanford Challenge, a nonprofit helping to ensure cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Site, applied for a PPP loan in 2020. Executive Director Tom Carpenter knew that other nonprofits were finding it difficult to get timely assistance from the bigger banks—and some missed out on PPP funding altogether.

BECU's approach stayed with Carpenter. “I feel our small nonprofit was given a lot of personal attention and guidance, and you really helped save our bacon,” he said in a thank you note. “I know you are working long hours. I know because you were answering my email on a Sunday! That is above and beyond. My entire staff and board, and the folks we serve, are grateful to you and BECU.”

Pace Pendleton, the CEO of online recruiting company Recruita, first spoke with BECU employee, Seth, when considering a business line of credit. “It can be hard for me to get good customer service as I am deaf and cannot hear on the phone. But Seth went out of his way to help me several times and made sure I was taken care of,” Pendleton says.

After the pandemic struck, Pendleton asked about PPP loans and Seth emailed to tell Pendleton when BECU started accepting new applications. “We ended up receiving the PPP loan through BECU and [it] saved my business," he said. "Just wanted to thank you and make sure you knew how much I appreciate the help.”

Continue to the next section:

Read other sections of the 2020 Annual Report:

III. BECU + CREW

IV. BECU By the Numbers

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