It's been a busy summer at SF Fire Credit Union, and I want to take a moment to give you an update on the state of your credit union as fall approaches.
Based on the questions and comments I receive through Twitter (@SFFireCU) and Ask Darren on our website, I know that many of you continue to have questions regarding the economy and its impact on the credit union. While I would never minimize the hardships many individuals and other financial institutions are experiencing as we emerge from the recession, I am pleased to report that SF Fire Credit Union continues to prosper during this slow recovery. We remain profitable, in large part due to the increasing number of you who are making SF Fire Credit Union your primary financial institution. As a member-owned financial cooperative, we owe our success (and our future) to those of you who give us the opportunity to meet all of your financial service needs. Our delinquency and loan loss rates have also stayed below the industry average and can be attributed to several factors. Besides always operating in ways that ensure "safety and soundness," we're fortunate to have a core membership located in areas which have fared relatively well in terms of property values and who work in stable fields-of-employment.
If you follow financial news, you might be aware of the Federal Reserve's plan to initiate "Quantitative Easing" in an effort to stimulate the economy. This is ultimately intended to stimulate the economy by keeping borrowing interest rates low and encouraging consumers and businesses to spend. There are certainly two perspectives to consider in terms of a low interest rate environment-one being that of the borrower and the other that of the saver. Members who are in the borrowing phase of their life (purchasing cars, financing homes, consolidating debt, etc.) will benefit from continued low interest rates. However, those who are in a saving phase of life (getting ready for that first home purchase, saving for a child's college education, planning for retirement, etc.) or retired (living off of dividends from savings) are likely to be discouraged by the rates offered on traditional deposit accounts. To those savers who are wanting or needing a higher rate of return, I can't predict when deposit rates will rise. However, I do encourage members to learn about investment alternatives. Our financial advisors are available to help you understand all of the available options and assist in your financial planning.
Of course, there's more to us than just profitability, delinquency and quantitative easing - and it really has been a busy summer at SF Fire Credit Union. In July, we held our first member car sale in many years at the Cow Palace. Not only was it a success in terms of many satisfied members finding a car to fit their needs, but long-time member Eugene Young was the lucky car sale attendee who won the keys to a new Mercedes-Benz. Our tradition of honoring firefighters with a performance of the National Anthem for the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park continued, and resulted in the "discovery" of Jada and Sage Zimmerman. These nine and ten year-old daughters of SFFD retiree Russ Zimmerman made all of us proud during their performance before the September 7th win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rest assured that there's still more to come in 2012, proclaimed by the United Nations as "The International Year of Cooperatives" in honor of this special business model that provides an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development in our communities. SF Fire Credit Union has a long and proud history of supporting the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, and we look forward to kicking off our fundraising efforts in November. Last year, we were able to donate $16,670 thanks to the generosity of our membership. We're also hard at work on many enhancements to online and mobile banking including an easy to use loan application that will be available in the upcoming months. Until then, know that all of us at SF Fire Credit Union appreciate your continued loyalty, and thank you for making us your preferred financial partner.
Darren Herrmann, President & CEO