STAYING CONNECTED WHILE APART
Our Northeast Credit Union team came together to discover and implement new ways to help our community react to the rapidly changing nature of living your lives, managing your finances and doing business. While constantly focused on health and safety, we adapted quickly to offer our essential banking services via our drive-ups, telephone banking, phone appointments, and later reopening our branch lobbies with social distancing protocols.
Flexibility has been key as we adopted new ways to stay connected and serve you by offering the ability to schedule in-person or telephone appointments online. To make appointments safe and productive, our Member Service Representatives made confirmation calls and reviewed digital checklists to ensure that you were able to handle all your banking needs effectively.
"We have been very impressed with the personal service provided by Northeast Credit Union! Wish we had gone there years earlier!" - Margaret C.
DIGITAL BANKING PROVIDES SAFE BANKING SOLUTIONS
Our physical branch locations remain essential in offering the personal service you deserve, and our strategy of being high tech and high touch has been reinforced during this time of adversity. Technology proved to be essential and remains a key component in helping you remain productive with your finances. Online and Mobile Banking, Mobile Deposit, and Mobile Wallet were valuable options for quick and easy access to your accounts and information. Electronic Document Signature services were expanded so that you could sign your banking documents safely and conveniently from the comfort of your home, without the need to come into a branch.
In 2020, we experienced significant growth within our digital channels:
- Online Banking users grew by 11%
- Mobile Banking enrollment increased by 17% and Mobile Banking active users grew by 30%
- Mobile Deposit new enrolled users grew by 25%, active users increased by 30% and checks deposited by 20%
- myMoney users grew by 34%
- Mobile Wallet payments increased by 173%
- Mobile Wallet users grew by 101%
- DocuSign usage grew by 112%
- Automated Telephone Banking usage grew by 66%
- Loans closed via DocuSign increased by 36%
"Friendly staff. Wonderful atmosphere. I got my questions answered and business taken care of promptly and hassle free." - Jeremy K.
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
With so many other things to worry about in 2020, our goal was that your experience at Northeast remained a positive one and alleviated worry when it came to your finances. We focused heavily on service excellence, knowing that this past year was when many of you needed us most. We listened, we educated, and we cared tremendously for each individual member. With that our focus on business continuity, resilience and outstanding service boosted our Member Satisfaction rating to 94.8% overall in 2020. That is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of our more than 350 employees and the faith and confidence that you, our members, have placed in us. We are committed to continuing to find ways to improve your experience as a valued Northeast member.
Thanks to your loyalty, we are pleased to report that, for Northeast Credit Union, despite the challenges brought on by the global pandemic, business remained very strong. Due to historically low interest rates, we set new mortgage lending records, and although the spring-time saw a dip in some areas, we bounced back strongly the second half of the year. Likewise, we continued to help grow our membership while also deepening existing relationships by offering sound financial solutions and guidance every step of the way.
A LITTLE LOVE GOES A LONG WAY
As we continue our work to drive positive community outcomes, we’re excited to announce that in 2020 we established the Northeast Credit Union Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable foundation with the purpose of enriching the lives of our community through charitable donations and outreach in the communities in which our members and employees live and work.
We know how imperative it is to support a healthy and thriving community. In June 2020 we launched The Love Your Community Awards, which delivered $120,000 in Northeast Credit Union Foundation grants to more than 60 nonprofits in New Hampshire and Maine based on votes from you, our members, employees, and in our community. The Love Your Community Awards will be an annual event in which we look forward to growing and further strengthening to celebrate those nonprofits making a positive impact.
We are encouraged to see our Love Your Community Project (The LYC), a humanitarian effort that encourages and celebrates people practicing kindness in their everyday lives, continues to have a ripple effect of positivity all around us. We are inspired by those who selflessly put others before themselves and we will continue to shine the light on these acts of goodness which strengthen our communities.
Our Scholarship Program, which awards $40,000 annually in academic scholarships to our student-members, was established to support those who consistently demonstrate strong character and good will toward others while advancing their education. 2020 was a difficult year for graduating seniors and those students entering or in college. While our plans for an in-person Scholarship Awards Ceremony for recipients and their families was unable to happen, we were still able to celebrate our 24 remarkable scholarship winners with a video ceremony, lawn signs and gift bags delivered to their homes – this was our way of letting them know how proud we are of their accomplishments.
In response to the impacts of COVID-19, we launched a virtual Community Center at TheLYC.com to promote healthy activities and positivity. For the third year in a row, we recognized kind kids through our Nice Catch program, which partners with The Portland Sea Dogs and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, to celebrate remarkable children who go above and beyond in making our communities a brighter place. We also recognized Teachers Who Wow, which was greatly deserved with the stress and challenges educators have faced this past year.
BIG HEARTS FOR COMMUNITY
We make it our mission to help you through these uncertain times with patience and compassion while empowering you with knowledge and know-how. For too many, financial insecurity remains one of life’s greatest worries, and we see our members and communities feeling the weight of that during the pandemic. We put our mission to the test: loan deferments, fee waivers, small business loan assistance through the Payment Protection Program (PPP), community nonprofit support, donations to our local food pantries, and more. We are people helping people – through and through - and we will continue to work with you individually to help you in good times and in difficult times.
When health and safety concerns led to lobby closures, our branch staff reached out by phone to our most vulnerable members, to connect and provide company and support with financial matters and offer guidance. These care calls proved to be comforting for both the members and our employees, and truly demonstrated what Northeast Credit Union is all about – staying connected with our members and doing our part to help others in need.
"The staff are very friendly, courteous and knowledgeable. I've always enjoyed my trips here." - Dana P.
DEBT FREE – YOU CAN GET THERE FROM HERE
We are tenacious about helping you thrive, and we are committed to providing the service and stability that our community has come to expect. Knowing that every dollar saved is a dollar that can be used to provide for your family is why we pride ourselves in helping members reduce debt. Our Freedom from Debt initiative offered the opportunity to review debt with a Member Service Representative, exploring ways to save money with solutions like low-rate credit cards, personal loans and through refinancing and consolidation of loans. We are proud to say that in a few short months, we helped to save our members nearly $400,000 annually and that number continues to climb.
"The entire process for applying for our loan was seamless. We've used other banks before and always had a lot of 'red tape'. We'll definitely use Northeast Credit Union for any future needs. Great personal touch - not just a number!" - Mary Anne
MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER
Even if we can’t solve all the world’s big problems right now, what we can do is continue strengthening our foundation from the ground up. The stronger and more sustainable our roots are, the more we can all prosper. Of course, the best way to grow and strengthen those roots is to invest in each other.
Our focus is on continued improvement of technologies to enhance your experience and make banking with us as easy and enjoyable as possible. One way we will do this is by redesigning our current websites for easier navigation so you can find what you need and handle your financial matters quickly and effectively.
We are also excited to announce plans to implement a new Online and Mobile Banking platform which will deliver a seamless, consistent, and exceptional experience across all devices. Dynamic new features will be secure, user-friendly, and intuitive. This technology transformation is scheduled to roll out in early 2022.
2020 SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT
The Supervisory Committee’s responsibilities may be summed up as “providing critical and active oversight over the governance functions of the Credit Union. This includes ensuring management and the Board are fulfilling their responsibilities as good stewards of the member’s money.”
The Committee’s primary duties and responsibilities include: engaging auditors to perform an annual audit of the Credit Union; providing an annual report on the audit to the Board of Directors and the Credit Union members; conducting verification of members’ accounts at least bi-annually; ensuring the Board of Directors and management are safeguarding the Credit Union’s assets; ensuring management complies with the Credit Union’s policies and plans; reviewing internal controls; reviewing examination and audit findings and follow-up to ensure management takes the necessary corrective action when appropriate; meeting with the Federal and State examiners; and when needed, responding to member complaints received through NCUA’s Office of Consumer Protection.
The Supervisory Committee is pleased to report it has been actively involved in these activities. The Committee meets regularly with management and representatives from auditing firms to ensure these fiduciary duties have been fulfilled. The Committee actively oversees the remediation efforts for any State and/or Federal examination findings and has taken the lead oversight position as the Credit Union develops and implements its Enterprise Risk Management program (ERM). In addition, the Committee provides independent advice, assistance, and recommendations to the Board in the oversight of the Credit Union’s operations and audit functions, and supports the Board of Directors in the fulfillment of its fiduciary responsibilities.
During 2020, the Supervisory Committee engaged the following firms to provide auditing services for Northeast Credit Union:
- Berry Dunn – Consolidated Financial Statements Audit
- Wipfli | MacPage, LLC – Internal Audit Services
- M&M Consulting, LLC – Compliance Audit Services
- CastleGarde, Inc. – Information Security Audits
Northeast Credit Union’s 2020 Consolidated Financial Statements Report prepared by Berry Dunn includes an Independent Auditor’s Report that conveys the following opinion:
"In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Northeast Credit Union and Subsidiary as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America."
In conclusion, it is the Supervisory Committee’s opinion the Credit Union is well managed and continues to maintain its status as a sound financial institution. Northeast Credit Union enters 2021 in an excellent position to serve the financial needs of its members.
CREDIT COMMITTEE'S REPORT
During a challenging year with the COVID-19 Pandemic we have been delighted to serve the membership of Northeast Credit Union during 2020. The Credit Committee had a successful year reviewing lending activity and helping our members with their financial needs.
At the Credit Union’s 2020 Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors appointed the following as members of the Credit Committee: Kelly McGrath - Chairperson, Sue Ladd - Secretary, Timothy Collia, David Wolf, and Doug Sites. As always, the Credit Committee is honored to have been appointed by the Board and extends thanks for allowing us to serve. At the October 26, 2020 Board Meeting, the Board replaced David Wolf, who stepped down from the Committee, with Chris Saucier.
During the calendar year 2020, the Committee met monthly to review:
- The number of loan applications received;
- The number of loans granted;
- The number of applications denied;
- The number of deferment requests received;
- The number of deferments granted;
- The number of deferments denied;
- COVID-19 outlook regarding Northeast's Loan Portfolio and its performance;
- And any other loan activity requiring its review as the final lending authority at the Credit Union.
The Committee found our lending activity to be consistent with the Credit Union’s loan policies. The Credit Committee maintained confidentiality and adhered to the Loan Policy set forth by Northeast Credit Union.